For those of you that keep abreast of current exercise trends, you may have been hearing about HIT or HIIT lately (high intensity training and high intensity interval training). I think it would also be a great idea for those of you who don’t believe that any worthwhile benefits are attainable with small doses of intense exercise. Just a few days ago another article was written in the New York Times by Gretchen Reynolds which highlights a recent HIIT study done on 25 young men in Ontario, Canada.
The participants did the following 3x per week for 3 months on stationery bikes
1 group did nothing
2nd group exercised moderately 45 min.
3rd group did 20 seconds hard exercise followed by 2 minutes of less intense pedaling–did this only 3x per workout
Results..the group that did nothing gained nothing positive, the second and third groups experienced the same benefits; specifically endurance had increased by nearly 20 percent, insulin resistance improved significantly, and there were increases in the number and function of mitochondria, thus boosting VO2max.
Summary: As expected the control group that did nothing didn’t gain any health benefits. So I ask you to draw your own conclusions. If you enjoy working out and have a lot of time on your hands, then go with group 2’s method. If you hate exercising and don’t have a lot of time to begin with, go with group #3’s method.
The only two limitations that I see with this study is that it didn’t include women and it only had young men. They should also get the 40-80+ age group and work the participants to their maximal capacity based upon age and fitness levels.