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What is fast exercise?

What is fast exercise?

There is a persistent widespread belief in the fitness industry that the more time you spend exercising, the better. Only those who dedicate themselves to punishingly lengthy workouts can expect their body fat to plummet, their muscles to become exquisitely defined, to finally enter the kingdom of heavenly bodies, Tracey Anderson famously trainer to Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez, famously said that she expects devotees of her method to spend 90 minutes a day on her regime. Madonna reportedly spends 2 hours a day with her trainer. If that is how you wise to spend your time, good luck. If not, then you will be pleased to hear that the question occupying the minds of many of those at the forefront of exercise research is not so much “How can we get people to do more?” but “How can we get more for less”. High intensity interval training (HIT) has caused a stir because studies done over the last decade have repeatedly shown that a few minutes of intense exercise a day can make a significance different. Yet the principles behind HIT are not new. Not even remotely new.


One of the things we’d expect regular exercise to lead to is a longer, healthier life. But how active do you need to be and what sort of exercise should you be doing. Thanks to a recent review of 22 separate studies which followed nearly a million people from Europe, North America, East Asia and Australasia, we know that a couch potato who gets off the sofa and starts doing around 2.5 hours of moderate activity a week ( Walking,cycling,jogging,swimming) can expect to reduce their mortality risk by around 19%.

That sounds pretty impressive and it is the sort of figure bandied around by experts in the hope that it will encourage people to do more. The trouble is, it doesn’t. Despite numerous public health campaigns, most Europeans and North American don’t come close to doing 2.5 hours of moderate activity a week. Fewer of 20% of us anything like the recommended levels.

There are many barriers to getting more active (lack of time is the commonest excuse), but I also think the way in which the benefits of exercise are presented is not particularly compelling ore convincing.

“Mortality risk”, for example, is a concept that is difficult to grasp and not a great motivator.

One of the main reasons we take up exercise is because we have been lead to believe that it will help us lose weight. We stand on the scales, gulp and join the gym. We go a fee times week, and pound away on the treadmill or the exercise bike. The whole thing probably takes a couple of house, by the time we have travelled there and back, has a shower, have a chat. But we feel virtuous. At the end of our first week we optimistically get back on the scales. No change. Ah well, obviously haven’t been doing for longer enough must keep going. So we continue going to the gym and at the end of a month discover that, despite all that time and effort, there has again been little change on the scales. Fret not! It is possible to get fitter and lose fat, this is where (HIT) Or High intensity interval training comes in.

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