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How Short Bursts of High-Intensity Exercise Could Keep You (Relatively) Fit

from The Washington Post

If you happen to be one of those people who hits the gym or goes running for an hour, three times a week like clockwork, then congratulations — you're within the minority of Americans who gets the recommended amount of physical activity for healthy adults.

For the rest of us, exercise tends to be yet another chore that can easily fall by the wayside. Amid the countless responsibilities of our work, family and social lives, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to spend one of them working out.

According to its current guidelines, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity throughout the week. Yet less than half of U.S. adults reach these benchmarks, with not enough time reported as a common barrier to regular exercise.

But being “too busy” is starting to sound more like an excuse with the recent rise in popularity of a time-efficient exercise strategy called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In terms of physiological benefits, HIIT compresses of an hour or more of traditional exercise into a few minutes of high-intensity training per session. Studies have shown improvements in markers of cardiovascular health, metabolic capacity and aerobic fitness that often exceed those seen in continuous moderate-intensity exercise — and all using workout routines that are relatively short. more

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