No time for gym? Try short, intense stair climbing for a healthy heart
Sprint interval training (SIT), which involves brief bursts of vigorous exercise separated by short periods of recovery, is an effective and time-saving alternative for cardio-respiratory fitness.health and fitness Updated: Feb 09, 2017 09:30 IST
Don’t have time for gym? Even short, intense bursts of stair climbing at your home or office may have major benefits for heart health, say scientists.
Researchers recruited 31 sedentary but otherwise healthy women and tested the effect of two different protocols, each of which required a 10-minute time commitment, including warm-up, cool down and recovery periods. The exercise sessions were conducted three times a week over the course of six weeks.
“Stair climbing is a form of exercise anyone can do in their own home, after work or during the lunch hour,” said Martin Gibala, professor at McMaster University in Canada. “This research takes interval training out of the lab and makes it accessible to everyone,” said Gibala.
Previous studies have proven the benefits of vigorous stair climbing over sustained periods of time – up to 70 minutes a week – but scientists set out to determine if sprint interval training (SIT), which involves brief bursts of vigorous exercise separated by short periods of recovery, was an effective and time-efficient alternative for improving cardio-respiratory fitness.
The first protocol involved three 20-second bouts of continuous climbing in an ‘all-out’ manner. The results were then compared and contrasted to participants who ran through the same protocol using an exercise bike which has already been shown to improve fitness.
For the second experiment, participants vigorously climbed up and down one flight of stairs for periods of 60 seconds, an experiment which could be easily adopted for the home. Both protocols, each involving a total time commitment of 30 minutes a week, increased cardiorespiratory fitness, an important healthy marker that is linked to longevity.
“Interval training offers a convenient way to fit exercise into your life, rather than having to structure your life around exercise,” said Gibala. The study was published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
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