Blasting a series of ten one-minute sprints on an exercise bike three times a week has the same benefits as ten hours of distance cycling, say scientists.
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada say high-intensity exercise at 95 per cent of your maximum heart rate is an efficient way of avoiding heart disease, obesity and stroke.
The ideal pace pushes people beyond their comfort zone but is about half of their ‘all-out’ speed, said study author Prof Martin Gibala.
“This less extreme, high-intensity method may work well for older, less fit and slightly overweight people whose doctors might have worries about them exercising “all-out”,’ he said.
Endurance training widens the network of blood vessels supplying muscle cells so that a person can carry out daily activities more effectively and without strain.
Brief, intense exercise appears to have the same effect, although the reason for this is still unclear.
“It appears that high-intensity exercise stimulates many of the same cellular pathways that are responsible for the beneficial effects we associate with endurance training,” added Prof Gibala.
“The exercise protocol we used should be possible to do by the general public and you don’t need more than an average exercise bike.”
However, dripping sweat on to a machine that someone else has just dripped sweat on, accompanied by the latest N-Dubz video on the gym telly, is a hardly a substitute for the highways and byways of the UK. Or is it? Let us know at road.cc