Two-minute workout wards off heart disease

If your Olympic inspiration is already wearing off, fear not - scientists claim keeping your heart healthy is a sprint, not a marathon.

high-intensity workouts prevent heart disease

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According to research by academic Stuart Gray, a short, sharp burst of exercise works just as well as a 90-minute run when it comes to keeping fit and well.

The study looked at the difference in the levels of fat in the blood for two groups of men aged between 18 and 35. The first group got their hearts pounding with 30-second high-intensity workouts on an exercise bike, followed by four minutes rest. The pattern was then repeated four times, amounting to just two and a half minutes of strenuous exercise.

The second group walked briskly on the treadmill for 30 minutes, as per the recommended Government exercise guidelines.

On the following day, both groups were treated to a high-fat breakfast and lunch before their blood was tested to see how quickly the levels of fat fell.

Those that walked cut the fat levels by 11 per cent compared to those who did no exercise, but the high-intensity group cut their levels by 33 per cent - the kind of percentage one would normally expect to see from those who went on a 90-minute run.

Given that fat lingering in the blood after eating has been proven to trigger the clogging of the arteries, and subsequently heart disease, the two-minute workout wonder could inspire more people to get off the sofa and get their hearts pumping.

Dr Gray, from Aberdeen University, told the British Science Festival: "Although moderate intensity, longer sessions of exercise can help protect the body against cardio-vascular disease, the findings of our study showed that higher-intensity shorter intervals of exercise might be a more effective method to improve health and reduce the time commitment to exercise."

What do you think? Would you be more likely to stay fit with short, sharp bursts of exercise? Leave your comments below...