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Benefits of Exercise “Bursts”

Vigorous exercise for 12 minutes, or burst training, improves multiple aspects of health.

Benefits of burst training

Here’s some good news for those who prefer short workouts. There are health benefits of training harder through burst training. Harvard Medical School researchers found that approximately 12 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise can positively alter biomarkers linked with heart disease, diabetes and shorter longevity.

The scientists were struck by “the effects a brief bout of exercise can have on the circulating levels of metabolites that govern such key bodily functions as insulin resistance, oxidative stress, vascular reactivity, inflammation and longevity,” said principal investigator and study author Gregory Lewis, MD, head of the Heart Failure section at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Investigators analyzed data from 411 middle-aged women and men enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study. This study began in 1948 and now includes three generations of participants. “We’re starting to better understand the molecular underpinnings of how exercise affects the body and [to] use that knowledge to understand the metabolic architecture around exercise response patterns,” said study author Ravi Shah, MD, in the Division of Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Find the research in Circulation (2020; 142 [20], 1905–24).

See also: Exercise Bursts Can Improve Metabolic Health

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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