Medical Moment: High-Intensity, Intermittent Exercise, Effective?

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Dr. Sharon Grundy, Medical Director of Primary Care, Board Certified in Internal Medicine

Dr. Sharon Grundy, Medical Director of Primary Care, Board Certified in Internal Medicine

Dr. Sharon Grundy addresses this week’s question: What are high-intensity intermittent exercises? And are they effective?

WOW that felt good! Have you ever said this after an intense exercise class or activity?

Over the past five years there is emerging research examining High Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) indicating that HIIE may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous abdominal body fat than other types of exercise.

(High intensity work outs are defined as repeated brief intense work out followed by low-intensity exercise or rest.)

Regular HIIE has been shown to significantly increase both aerobic and aerobic fitness. HIIE also significantly lowers insulin resistance and results in a number of skeletal muscle adaption that result in enhanced skeletal muscle metabolism. (Review Article High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss)

An example is a Wingate test which consist of 30 second “all out sprints with hard resistance” (on a stationary cycle) followed by a two-minute rest or low intensity period. The sprints are repeated 4-6 times. Performing the series three times a week for 2-6 weeks was shown to improve body mass and skeletal muscle metabolism.

A modified version for people who have difficulty with an intense sprint is an eight second high intensity sprint followed by 12 seconds of low intensity, maintained over a 20 minute period.

HIIE is a great alternative for people who work long hours and don’t have time to fit in a 1-2 hour workout. Think about setting a 30-day challenge for yourself!

Editor’s note: The Telluride Medical Center is the only 24-hour emergency facility within 65 miles. As a mountain town in a challenging, remote environment, a thriving medical center is vital to our community’s health.This Medical Moment was sponsored in part by Telluride Properties and through the generosity of an anonymous local supporter committed to a healthy Telluride and the future regional medical center.

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