Bursts of short, high-intensity exercise are best for weight loss, new research reveals.
High-intensity interval training — known as HIIT — can burn off weight in much shorter periods of time.
Just 23 minutes of interval training sheds more pounds than spending twice as long on moderate intensity exercise.
People in the studies doing interval training lost almost 30% more weight than those training at a moderate, continuous intensity.
Common types of interval training involve 30-second bursts going “all out” followed by four minutes of recovery at a much lower intensity.
Interval training can be done on a bicycle, by running, jogging, speed walking or with a variety of other exercises.
Current recommendations for weight loss are to work out for an hour a day.
This is not practical for many people, so interval training provides a way to get the exercise done faster.
The conclusions come from a review of 36 studies involving 1,012 people.
The results showed that both continuous workouts and interval training helped with weight loss.
Those doing interval training lost an average of 28.5% more weight than those training continuously.
The study’s authors write:
“It is important to be aware of the possible risks and caveats associated with higher intensity training.
For example, it might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress.
Adherence should also be examined as higher intensity protocols can result in higher discomfort.”
However, they included a wide variety of studies which…
“…makes it difficult to generally recommend that one particular protocol is ‘best’ for modulating body adiposity.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Viana et al., 2019).