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Australian researchers find that higher intensity workouts improve health and reduce mortality

Australian researchers find that higher intensity workouts improve health and reduce mortality
September 25, 2019

A group of Australian researchers have debunked the ‘no pain, no gain’ approach to exercise, finding in a newly published study that vigorous activity reduces mortality risks.

Backing the public health goal to meet physical activity guidelines (regardless of the intensity achieved), the team of Australian researchers from the University of Sydney, the Australian Catholic University - Sydney and James Cook University found that vigorous activity in adulthood is associated with lower mortality risk compared with activities of moderate intensity.

They also advise “our … analysis also supports the importance of accumulating a minimal amount of activity for health purposes because in participants who achieved less than 150 weekly minutes of MVPA (moderate-to-vigorous physical activities), vigorous activity was not associated with lower mortality.”

Backing recommendation of 150 minutes of MVPA per week the research would seem to support the value high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which has grown significantly in popularity over the past decade, backed by studies demonstrating that intervals can deliver the biggest health improvement for participants’ exercise time.

The research was undertaken using data from large British studies that spanned 1994 to 2011, reviewing the exercise habits (frequency, duration, intensity and type of exercise) of 64,913 respondents, 44% of them men and 56% women.

The researchers’ goal was to find out whether those who reported bouts of vigorous activity (intense enough to “get people out of breath and make them sweat”) realised greater health benefits than those whose physical activity was limited to moderate-intensive exercise (that which produced “a slight increase in heart rate”).

In their paper Associations of vigorous physical activity with all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality among 64,913 adults published in the BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal, the researchers eport “we found a 15% risk reduction (in all-cause mortality) in participants who achieved the recommended 150 minutes of MVPA (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and reported 30% or more of vigorous activity.”

The study also found that people most likely to log higher intensity workouts tended to be younger males, although the benefits of HIIT apply across genders and all ages.

Click here to view Associations of vigorous physical activity with all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality among 64,913 adults published in the BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal.

Image courtesy of Hiscoes.

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