Small amounts of interval, but intense, exercise is five times more effective than traditional cardio, according to a new study by Auburn University at Montgomery Exercise Science Professor Michele Olson.  Thus, those looking to get fit can burn more calories in fewer minutes by increasing the intensity of their routine in short bursts as opposed to the often half-measured efforts of walking or jogging on a treadmill.

Olson shared her findings at the recently-held 60th annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine.  “Tabata” training was created by Olympic speed skaters trainer Izumi Tabata.

“This particular style of interval training has profound effects even on short-term, post-exercise metabolism,” Olson said. “It would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise, like 20 minutes of very brisk walking, to shed the same number of calories that result from a four-minute Tabata.”

“The program involves four-minute bouts of explosive interval moves done for 20 seconds for eight rounds with a 10-second break between each round,” according to AOL.  Tabata training doubled the individuals’ metabolic rate for 30 minutes afterwards.

Credit: Commons/Wikimedia
Credit: Commons/Wikimedia

It is estimated that nearly 15 percent of children in the United States are obese.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 36 percent of U.S. adults are obese.  The lack of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, along with large intake of caffeine, appear to be contributing factors in more people lacking sufficient rest.

However, just going to the gym is a challenge for most people.  Global Fitness, a fitness equipment based company headquartered in Los Angeles, suggests that it’s ‘mind over matter’ when it comes to getting fit.  “Hit the gym, burn some fat, eat clean, and get off the sofa,” the company recently posted on its Twitter account.

The company, which remanufactures gym products that have been featured on shows such as “How I Met Your Mother,” suggests that people stop their rationalizations and procrastination when it comes to putting in hard work at the gym.  “We suggest healthy living and regular exercise. [Quit] the bad habits, and get into the [gym].”

“Having limits on time is one of the biggest obstacles to exercise for many in the population,” Olson said. “If you can achieve the same benefits doing short bouts of exercise that would normally take 20-30 minutes, then our hopes in this industry are that these types of studies will play a meaningful role in exercise participation and health promotion.”

A separate study by Cornell University shows that while some cancer survivors feel distressed about diet and body weight, exercise helps them feel they are taking back control of their health, The Cornell researchers recently published their findings in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

“Cancer survivors’ feeling that they could be active – just getting up in their own home and walking to the kitchen, or having someone help them walk to the mailbox or down the block – was [found to be] very empowering and a stress reliever,” said lead author Mary Maley.