By Gina Maffey
Just two and a half minutes of intense exercise a day could help to reduce fat levels in the blood after eating. Unfortunately, there is a lot of sweat included.
Increased blood fat levels are thought to be a key indicator of the likelihood of an individual developing cardiovascular disease in later life.
In a study, published in Clinical Science, Dr Stuart Gray at the University of Aberdeen measured the blood fat levels of three groups of volunteers after eating foods such as crisps, mayonnaise, butter and cheese for breakfast and lunch.
The previous day the control group had rested for 30 minutes. The moderate intensity exercise group had walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes and the high intensity exercise group had spent 30 seconds on a fixed resistance bike cycling as fast as possible and then resting for four minutes. This process was repeated five times.
The volunteers in the high intensity exercise group demonstrated a 33 per cent reduction in postprandial fat levels after eating a high fat content meal, compared with an 11 per cent reduction in the moderate intensity exercise group.
To achieve the same kind of results from a moderate intensity exercise routine, an individual would need to jog for approximately 90 minutes.
It is believed that this style of exercise is suitable for all. The intensity of the exercise is “as fast as possible” relative to what an individual’s body can cope with.
This effect on the blood fat levels only seems to be short lived, with no difference between the volunteer groups two days after exercise.
At present it is unclear why this short burst of intense exercise works. It is speculated that muscle tissue may either be taking up and burning increasing levels of fat levels from the blood, or that it is absorbing fat and storing it as triglycerides.
Further research is to be conducted in this area, but Dr Gray said of the current findings that “although moderate intensity, longer sessions of exercise can help protect the body against CVD, the findings of our study showed that high-intensity shorter intervals of exercise might be a more effective method to improve health and reduce the time commitment to exercise."