PhotoAt a time when many consumers are prioritizing fitness, a recent study could have many people rethinking their workout plans.

Not only is it difficult for consumers to commit to a high-intensity workout regimen -- many of which suggest exercising for 60 minutes per day -- but new research suggests that this method may not be the best for those looking to lose weight.

Instead, researchers found that practicing interval training can make the weight come off faster -- and have consumers spending less time in the gym.

Getting the most out of a workout

The researchers analyzed data from over 40 studies that included over 1,100 people to see how interval training and high-intensity workouts affect the body differently.

Interval training is attractive for many people because it doesn’t require a huge time commitment, but it still provides positive results. For this study, the researchers looked at two of the most common types of interval training: sprint interval training (cycling, jogging, speed walking, or running) and high intensity interval training (HIIT), which includes several different types of exercises.

In evaluating the studies, the researchers found that both interval training and high-intensity continuous workouts ended with participants losing both weight and body fat; however, participants who engaged in interval training workouts lost an average of nearly 29 percent more weight than those who did not.

Participants who completed sprint interval training programs lost even more weight than those engaging in HIIT programs or high-intensity continuous workouts.

Though continuous high-intensity workouts are typically recommended for people looking to lose weight, the researchers do warn consumers of the risks associated with a more rigorous exercise programs.

“It is important to be aware of the possible risks and caveats associated with higher intensity training,” the researchers wrote. “For example, it might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress. Adherence should also be examined as higher intensity protocols can result in higher discomfort.”

The researchers hope that these findings create more options for consumers, but they do note that because the study involves so many different types of interval training, it’s hard to “generally recommend...one particular protocol.”

Less could be more

Recent studies have explored how maximizing shorter spurts of exercise can be beneficial to consumers. For example, researchers found that climbing stairs in short spurts can help improve health, while one workout can help the metabolism for up to two days later.

Both studies provide consumers with more creative ways of incorporating exercise into their routines without trying to squeeze the gym into an already packed day.


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