Posted on Apr 10, 2019, 6 p.m.
Exercise “snacks” such as vigorous bouts of stair climbing are suggest to boost heart health. To enjoy the health benefits even a few minutes of using flights of stairs every 2-3 hours can help to greatly improve health of the heart. This form of snack is not food, rather exercise that can be easily incorporated into the day at any time or place.
Doing 2-3 of these exercise snacks every day was found to result in better cardiovascular health, suggesting levels of fitness can be improved at any given time and place with regular short but suitably vigorous cardio work. This study was supported by the University of British Columbia Okanagan and McMaster University.
Sprint interval training is comprised of short sessions of energetic physical exercise of around 10 minutes, making it easy to incorporate into the day. Studies investigating advantages to these sessions suggest subjects displayed considerable health benefits at the end of the study period.
To investigate if such SIT exercise snacks could increase cardiorespiratory fitness this study involved two groups of sedentary young adults; one group did no form of exercise as controls, while the other group went up 3 flights of stairs three times a day. Each climb was followed by a 1-4 hour recovery period, these snacks sessions were done three times a week over a six week trial period.
At the end of 6 weeks fitness levels were evaluated for both groups, the stair group was found to display higher levels of fitness and greater strength. During maximal cycling testing to measure power the subjects could produce the stair group also out performed their counterparts.
Follow-up to this study may compare diverse exercise snack protocols with different lengths of recovery periods, and the effects of SIT on blood pressure, glycemic control, and other markers of cardiovascular health.
“..vigorously climbing stairs while on coffee or bathroom break during the day seems to be enough to boost fitness levels in those who are otherwise sedentary…” reports UBC researcher Jonathan Little.
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