The recommended 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity is a breeze for some while for others, it’s a torture session.
While endurance fiends thrive on logging long hours either in a gym, on the road or in a pool, to others thirty minutes is about 28 minutes too long. But it turns out that shorter bouts of intense exercise can actually be more beneficial for you.
There’s plenty of research noting the benefits of high intensity interval training as compared to prolonged endurance exercise sessions. In numerous studies, individuals experienced similar gains in muscle strength and athletic performance utilizing both training techniques.
This is welcome news to those who want to be in and out of the gym in no time flat. But a recent study, examined the effects of what researchers called, exercise “snacking,” on individuals with insulin resistance. Interestingly enough, the short but sweet sessions were deemed a better choice for those needing to control blood glucose levels.
In the study, nine insulin-resistant individuals were asked to perform three different types of workout sessions prior to eating their daily meals. One session consisted of a 30 minute moderate-intensity incline walking session daily before the evening meal.
Another session consisted of six one-minute intervals of intense incline walking performed 30 minutes prior to breakfast, lunch and dinner. A third session consisted of six one-minute sessions of incline walking alternating with resistance-based exercises, again performed before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
When blood glucose levels were evaluated, the participants exhibited a 17 percent reduction in blood glucose after breakfast when either of the two interval sessions were performed and a 13 percent reduction after the evening meal. The final result was an average of a 12 percent drop in post-meal blood glucose levels over the course of the day.
The 30-minute moderate intensity workout however failed to have any positive effects on elevated post-meal blood glucose. Even more importantly, the blood glucose-lowering effects lingered throughout the next day as well, leading researchers to determine that alternate days of intense interval training could be more beneficial than daily moderate exercise, especially for those who struggle with insulin resistance.
The study was performed by several exercise science and medical researchers. They note that more individuals are intrigued by the nature of interval training due to it’s shorter duration and lasting effects and are hopeful this type of exercise will encourage more participation among all groups of people.
Yet the key finding was the reduced post-meal blood-glucose level drop. Hyperglycemia is an indicator of and risk factor for the development of type II diabetes. Finding alternate ways to control blood glucose after meals, without the use of medications, may be the key to reducing the number of cases of this dangerous condition.
The researchers intend to further their investigation with future studies focusing on different populations. However, in the meantime, if you’re looking to change up your routine a bit and don’t like the idea of hitting the gym daily, you may want to incorporate some exercise “snacking” into your week.
-The Alternative Daily