A recent study published in the Journal of Obesity suggests that high intensity intermittent exercise may have greater potential to reduce visceral fat than steady-state exercise (jogging, cycling).
The scientists from the School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Australia, have developed “LifeSprints”, a fast-paced exercise program that includes the use of cycling, boxing and equipment like elliptical fitness trainers.
According to the study, a 20-minute workout consisting of 8 seconds of doing sprints on an exercise bike, followed by 12 seconds of relative recovery resulted in more belly fat loss than 40 minutes of steady-state exercise.
“Sprints are a very time efficient form of exercise. The sprint program, LifeSprints, reduced visceral fat with seven times less exercise time and has a much greater impact on cardiovascular and metabolic health than reductions of subcutaneous fat stores in the legs and arms,” said study author, Professor Steve Boutcher, from the University of New South Wales.
Over forty young sedentary and overweight males were assigned to either exercise or control group. The researchers recommended them to maintain their normal eating habits during the study. The exercise group underwent high intensity intermittent exercise three times per week, twenty minutes per session, for twelve weeks.
“Other studies using aerobic exercise, such as continuous jogging, have found that the amount of exercise needed to produce a similar decrease in visceral fat was around seven hours per week for 14 weeks,” Professor Steve Boutcher said.
At the end of the program, the participants in the exercise group have lost two kilograms (4.40 pounds) of body fat, 17 percent of visceral fat, and put on 1.2 kilograms (2.64 pounds) of muscle in their legs and trunk. The reduction of visceral fat is very important because this is the fat stored around the heart, liver, kidneys and other internal organs and is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
“Participation in regular aerobic exercise typically results in little or no gain in muscle mass, whereas moderately hard resistance exercise over months may increase muscle mass. The amount of LifeSprints exercise, however, needed to significantly increase muscle mass appears to be much less,” Professor Steve Boutcher said.
You should consider using this exercise program even if you are a woman because the researchers have also studied the influence of the sprinting program on women. That study also demonstrated an important belly fat loss from stationary fast-paced cycling for 20 minutes, three times a week. You can also try this exercise program to improve your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of the U.S. adults are overweight and one-third is obese.
An adult needs at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise. Daily exercise keeps our muscles toned, maintains our hearts in good shape, prevents type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and depression. On the other hand, exhaustion from long and heavy exercises may increase the risk of various heart or joints problems.