Blame the rise of the ‘scientific seven minute workout’, ‘tabata’ training and the cult of Crossfit, but we’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of really busting your gut for a few minutes rather than going for a long and modestly taxing walk. Now researchers have confirmed that the best and most efficient way of achieving the much-touted health benefits of exercise is to work hard enough to get hot and sweaty. Basically, it’s got to hurt.
A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal noted that short bursts of vigorous activity – activity that increases your heart rate to around a 7-8 on a pain scale to 10 and caused you to sweat – could be up to four times more beneficial for your health than moderate exercise such as walking.
The author of the study, Klaus Gebel said that the research showed that those who vigorously worked out were as much as 13 per cent less likely to die prematurely than those only partake in moderate exercise.
“If you think of people who maybe so far have only been doing some walking, it could make a significant difference if on top of that they maybe have something like 20-30 minutes per week, not necessarily a lot, of doing something vigorous that makes them sweat and significantly increases their breathing rate,” Gebel told Fairfax Media.
The study also provided some relief for the Crossfit averse; the vigorous activity doesn’t have to be in the gym and could be vigorous housework or gardening, so long as it gets your heart racing. For those averse to exercise entirely, the authors of the study also noted that doing some exercise, at whatever speed, is better than nothing. Conversely, the more you do, well, the more you do. The best thing about vigorous exercise is that you don’t have to do much of it, so it’s more time efficient than long bouts of moderate exercise.
As with any new – and taxing – exercise regime, the authors of the study note that those new to the game should seek medical advice before starting.