One size doesn't fit all

One size doesn't fit all

By Anne Craig

March 3, 2015


Short, high intensity workouts have the same impact on reducing our waistline as longer, lower intensity workouts, according to new research out of Queen’s University. However, the research revealed high intensity workouts have an added benefit of reducing two-hour glucose levels.

The findings are significant because two-hour glucose levels, are a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

“We showed in our research that short, higher intensity exercise is different than long, slow exercise,” says study lead Robert Ross (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies). “Both methods show substantial benefit in respect to reducing abdominal obesity, a condition associated with great health risks. Only high intensity, though, had an impact on the ability to manage blood sugar.”

The study examined 300 abdominally obese adults and how their waistline and glucose levels reacted to either short, high intensity workouts or long, lower intensity workouts. All participants also ate a healthy diet during the study but participants did not reduce their caloric intake.

Dr. Ross and his team found a reduction in waist circumference in all individuals but only the high intensity group shows a nine per cent improvement in their two-hour glucose levels. They also found to the greatest increases in cardio-respiratory fitness in the high intensity group.

Dr. Ross explains that high intensity workouts don’t have to be extremely taxing for the participant. “Higher intensity can be achieved simply by increasing the incline while walking on a treadmill or walking at a brisker pace. Participants were surprised by how easy it was for them to attain a higher intensity exercise level.”

The new research shows people have options when it comes to exercise and can tailor their routine to the health outcomes they wish to achieve.

“The type of exercise you choose to do may depend on the health outcome you are looking to improve.  For reducing your waist line and weight the study clearly shows that people have options. This is good news for both the practitioner as well as the general public. For managing your blood sugar, our results clearly show that higher intensity exercise may be required,” says Dr. Ross.

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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