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How is sport most effective?
Sport is known to be good for the body and mind. There are different opinions about how athletic training should be done in order to be as effective as possible. Researchers have now found that a few minutes of high-intensity exercise can do as much as a much longer moderate exercise, at least at the cellular level.
In their current study, the scientists at Victoria University in Australia found that short, hard sports training can be just as effective as much longer training with moderate intensity. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "American Physiological Society".
Are two minutes of exercise enough to stay fit?
If your usual excuse for lack of exercise is that you just don't have enough time, it is better to find a new excuse now. Because even a short hard training session can have strong positive effects. Researchers found that two minutes of peak performance riding a bike has the same health and physical effects as a slower 30-minute ride. So two minutes could be enough to keep your body fit and healthy in the long run.
How does exercise affect the cells?
The average person pays attention to how long he has been doing sports to assess the effectiveness of the sports workout. The scientists examined the cells of the participants in their study to estimate the training effect. One of the most important cellular benefits of exercise is its impact on the so-called mitochondria, the organelles that produce the energy for our cells. With age, mitochondria work more slowly and gradually produce less and less energy. However, movement revives the mitochondria.
Mitochondria replicate more through exercise
In addition, physical activity also seems to signal the mitochondria that they are replicating more and more and creating more energy sources for the cells. A 2017 study suggests that the effects of exercise on mitochondria and certain proteins could ultimately explain why exercise is so healthy for people.
What type of training was examined?
For their current study, the scientists examined eight young adult subjects while they tried out three different training plans. During a training session, the participants cycled continuously for 30 minutes, but with less than half their maximum effort. Another training plan was based on a high-intensity interval (HIIT) workout in which the test subjects cycled five times four minutes, using 75 percent of their maximum performance. In between, a one-minute break was taken. The last training session consisted of four sprints on the bike, in which the test subjects drove as quickly as possible, each for 30 seconds with a four and a half minute break in between.
Results could improve population metabolic health
When the researchers analyzed the mitochondria in the thigh muscles of the cyclists, they found that the cells of the test subjects who had completed 30-second sprints were influenced as positively as those of the moderately intensive cyclists. This suggests that sport can be prescribed according to individual preferences, while still producing similar signals that are known to provide beneficial metabolic adjustments, the study authors write. These results are important to improve understanding of how exercise can be used to positively affect metabolic health in the general population. (as)