Cardio exercise, such as biking or running, is understood to be the key to weight loss but what about high-intensity workouts? According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, cardiovascular workouts with high-intensity may be better for your heart in lowering blood sugar and fat loss, than lower intensity workouts (Ross R, Hudson R, Stotz PJ, Lam M. 2015).
Attending boxing clubs in San Diego and running are my favorite cardio exercises so I often engage in high-intensity exercises when I have time after class. Researchers studied 300 abdominally obese adults to determine the separate effects of exercise amounts and intensity on glucose tolerance. Individuals were selected to perform either long, lower intensity workouts or short, high intensity workouts five times per week. They were instructed to eat a healthy diet but did not reduce caloric intake.
After 6 months, all individuals had identical reductions in waistline, but only participants in the high intensity workout group obtained reduction in 2-hour glucose levels. This means by adding more intensity to your daily weight loss routine, you can significantly lower your blood sugar levels. This is a great female fat loss tip that’s easy to implement by adding weights that gives you a more challenging workout. Men like me can add dumbbells or weights on our body suits for higher intensity.
According to Robert Ross, a researcher at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, “Higher intensity can be achieved simply by increasing the incline while walking on a treadmill or walking at a brisker pace,” Ross says. Anyone can add high intensity to their workouts and those small changes do improve your strength over time if you stay consistent.
Although high intensity exercises may have some special health benefits, this study showed that any physical activity is better than none. Individuals who exercised lost 5-6% of their body weight. I agree that health organizations should consider intensity as well, instead of issuing guidelines on the time spent while exercising for fat loss.
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
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Source: Ross R, Hudson R, Stotz PJ, Lam M. Effects of Exercise Amount and Intensity on Abdominal Obesity and Glucose Tolerance in Obese Adults: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:325-334. doi:10.7326/M14-1189