THURSDAY, Oct. 25(HealthDay News) -- Is lack of time your excuse for not exercising? New research finds that just a few minutes of intense activity interspersed between less intense stretches of exercise will burn excess calories all day long.
Men participating in a small study burned an additional 200 calories a day by doing a workout for less than 25 minutes that included a few minutes of hard, intense exercise on a stationary bike, spaced between less intense activity.
The technique, called sprint-interval training, is used by athletes to improve performance. It seems like a reasonable strategy for weight maintenance -- and for those days when you just can't get in a full workout, the researchers said.
"The harder you work, the more calories you will burn per minute," said study leader Kyle Sevits, a researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Sevits looked at five healthy men of normal weight with an average age 28. They were asked to ride an exercise bike as hard as they could five times for 30 seconds each. In between, they did resistance-free pedaling for four minutes. In all, the workout took less than 25 minutes.
Sevits compared the men's energy output on two days, including the day of the cycling exercise. The extra calories were burned over 24 hours on the workout day, despite the brief time spent in hard exercise.
The findings were presented last week at an exercise conference in Colorado sponsored by the American Physiological Society, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.
A British expert finds the results intriguing.
"This study provides some interesting preliminary data showing that sprint-interval training can increase 24-hour energy expenditure," said Dr. Stuart Gray, a lecturer in exercise physiology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Gray was not involv
All rights reserved