Over the past several years I have reported on numerous studies showing that intense exercise is more beneficial than exercising at a casual pace. Don’t complain that you do not have enough time to gain the benefits of exercise, since in one study, just 40 minutes of intense exercise, three times a week for 10 weeks:
- increased VO2max (the best measure of fitness),
- lowered blood pressure,
- lowered blood sugar levels,
- reduced body fat, and
- lowered total cholesterol, the bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and the oxidized LDL cholesterol that forms plaques in arteries. (PLOS One, June 4, 2013).
Scroll through my fitness reports for many more studies on the health benefits of intense exercise, including:
- Exercising intensely makes you stronger and faster and gives you greater endurance (EMBO J, May 2, 2014;33(9):1027-43).
- Intense exercise helps you lose weight and control your weight (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, January 2001;11(1):1-14).
- Intense exercise is better for reducing belly fat than exercise done at a casual pace (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, November 2008; Metabolism 1991(May);40(5):55-551).
- Intense exercise helps both to prevent diabetes and to treat patients with diabetes (Journal of Applied Physiology, January 2006; Circulation, July 2008).
- Intense exercisers have longer telomeres, the active tips of chromosomes. (Circulation, December 2009).
A Word of Caution
Before you start a program of cycling, running, swimming or anything else, realize that exercising intensely is more likely to cause injuries and can cause heart attacks in people with blocked arteries leading to their hearts. You may want to check with your doctor before you start. Then get in shape gradually by exercising at an easy pace 3 to 6 days a week for at least 6 weeks. People who suffer heart attacks during exercise are usually just starting an exercise program or make a sudden increase in the intensity or duration of their exercise.