High-intensity workouts boost health and fitness – even for those less fit

There are many ways to incorporate incidental physical activities into our daily routines; This is key to high-quality exercise, says Emmanuel Stamatakis at the University of Sydney.

SYDNEY: Have you recently loaded heavy shopping bags on some flights of stairs? Or run the last 100 meters to the station to take your train? If so, without knowing it, you may have been doing a style of exercise called high intensity incidental physical activity.

Our article, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, shows that this type of regular and incidental activity that makes you snort and inflate is likely to produce health benefits, even if it does in 30-second bursts, distributed throughout of the day

In fact, incorporating more high-intensity activity into our daily routines, either vacuuming the carpet vigorously or walking uphill to buy your lunch, could be the key to helping everyone do high quality exercise every day. And that includes people who are overweight and unfit.


Until recently, most sanitary authorities prescribed an activity that lasted at least ten minutes in a row, although there was no reliable scientific evidence behind this.

This recommendation was recently refuted by the US Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Report. UU From 2018. The new guidelines establish that any movement is important for health, no matter how long it lasts.

This appreciation for short episodes of physical activity is aligned with the basic principles of training at high intensity intervals (HIIT). HIIT in a very popular regime that includes repeated short sessions, from six seconds to four minutes, with breaks of 30 seconds to four minutes in between.

Among a variety of different regimens, we constantly observe that any type of training at high intensity intervals, regardless of the number of repetitions, increases physical fitness quickly and improves cardiovascular health.

This is because when we regularly repeat even brief bursts of strenuous exercise, we order our bodies to adapt (in other words, to get fit) so that we can better respond to the physical demands of life (or next time that we exercise vigorously).

The same principle is at play with incidental physical activities. Even short 20-second steps (60 steps) repeated three times a day, three days a week for six weeks, can lead to measurable improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness. This type of fitness indicates how well the lungs, heart and circulatory systems are working, and the higher it is, the lower the risk of future heart disease.

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