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Brief exercise good for heart

A study reveals that short bursts of high-intensity exercise are as good for your cardiovascular health as longer exercise.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Toronto
UPDATED ON JUN 06, 2008 02:53 PM IST

People with packed schedules, take heart. If you don't have time for regular exercise, don't worry.

A study has shown that short bursts of high-intensity exercise are as good for your cardiovascular health as longer exercise of moderate intensity.

High-intensity exercise in short burst of 30 seconds can improve the function and structure of your blood vessels, in particular arteries that deliver blood to our muscles and heart, according to the study carried out by McMaster University at Hamilton near here.

In a statement, the university said the findings supported the idea that people can exercise using brief, high-intensity forms of exercise and reap the same benefits to cardiovascular health that can be derived from traditional, long-duration and moderately intense exercise.

``As we age, the arteries become stiffer and tend to lose their ability to dilate, and these effects contribute to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease," said Maureen MacDonald of the department of kinesiology.

``More detrimental is the effect that blood vessel stiffening has on the heart, which has to circulate blood.''

The study compared individuals who completed interval training using 30-second "all-out" sprints three days a week to a group who completed between 40 and 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling five days a week, the statement said.

The results showed that six weeks of short-burst exercise improve the structure and function of arteries as much as traditional and longer, time-consuming exercise.

Prof McDonald said, ``More and more, professional organizations are recommending interval training during rehabilitation from diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral artery disease and cardiovascular disease.

``Our research certainly provides evidence that this type of exercise training is as effective as traditional moderate intensity training.''

She added, ``We wouldn't be surprised to see more rehabilitation programmes adopt this method of training since it is often better tolerated in diseased populations.''

This research shows that people with busy schedules can still benefit from the positive effects of exercise if they are willing to work hard for brief periods of time, Prof McDonald said.

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