We all know that aerobic exercise is a great way to keep in shape, but do you know that with standard types of aerobic exercise, such as jogging, it is difficult to actually lose fat and gain muscle mass?
But there is a new way to do aerobics that can accomplish those goals, and as a bonus, the results can be obtained in significantly less time.
This new form of aerobics, called “high-intensity intermittent exercise” or HIIE, combines the standard “steady-state”, or constant pace, aerobics with intermittent bursts of more intense aerobics. For example, during jogging or biking, you would intersperse periods of fast sprinting during the normal pace of jogging or biking.
The most recent study on HIIE comes from the University of New South Wales, Australia, just published in the journal Obesity. The researchers intensively studied 46 slightly overweight college students over a 12-week period. The students were measured for metabolism and exercise efficiency, fat content, and distribution of the fat in the body, among other markers.
The amazing fact is that they only exercised a total of ONE HOUR during an entire week—3 periods of 20 minutes each. After 12 weeks, the HIIE students were able to lose an average of 2 kg. of fat, and importantly, they achieved a 17% reduction in “visceral fat”—the more dangerous type of fat for your body—the fat around the internal organs in your abdomen (which shows as a “fat stomach”).
The lead author of the study, Dr. Steve Boutcher, notes: “Sprinting is a very efficient form of exercise and it’s fun. Other studies using aerobic exercise, such as continuous jogging, have found that the amount of exercise needed to produce a similar decrease in visceral fat was about 7 hours per week for 14 weeks.”
Note this study was done in otherwise healthy young men, but the authors expect that women also should benefit from HIIE. Men, however, tend to develop more visceral, deep abdominal fat, so might show more results. And older men might benefit even more. A previous HIIE study on older diabetic males showed a 44% reduction in abdominal fat after only 8 weeks.
Before you start a program like this, especially if you are not currently young and healthy, talk it over with your doctor, preferably a doctor with an interest or specialization in sports medicine. But if you are looking to cut out a “fat stomach” and haven’t had great results from traditional exercise, HIIE is worth a serious look.
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