We all know that exercise is great for your health however, researchers are now starting to find out just how effective high-intensity workouts can be for protecting your body from a number of conditions.
At the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, a study was conducted where researchers found that women who can exercise at a higher intensity during a heart stress test are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and other causes.
Reported in Healthline, the researchers looked at two groups of women – those with good exercise capacity and those with poor exercise capacity. Women with good exercise capacity were able to exercise at an intensity of 10 metabolic equivalents (METs) or better during a stress echocardiogram. (MET level is a measure of how much energy is burned during an activity). Exercises over 6 METs is considered vigorous. For example, running a 10-minute mile is about 10 METs. Mountain biking uphill is 14 METs.
The researchers found that the women with poor exercise capacity were almost four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to women with good exercise capacity. Poor exercisers were also twice as likely to die from cancer and more than four times as likely to die from other causes, compared to women with a higher fitness level.
However, the study didn’t look at what women did to reach that level of exercise, so while the study gives an idea of how fit the women were, it didn’t outline what physical activities led them to increase their capacity for vigorous exercises. The good thing is that there are other studies available that indicate what types of vigorous activities can boost your workout capacity.
One of the most well-known is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), the alternating intense-moderate exercise that older veterans did in studies at the Jacobs School at the University of Buffalo. HIIT is attractive for two reasons: the exercise sessions can be short and there’s a built-in low-intensity “recovery” period.
Some HIIT workouts, though, involve a lot of movement – think burpees and jumping jacks. This can be hard on the joints, especially if you are middle-aged or older, or have more weight. The good thing is there are other options available, such as hiking, yoga, or cycling.
To read more on the study click here.