Kiwis Need to Exercise Harder for Less Time

Kiwis Need to Exercise Harder for Less Time

27 July 2016, 12:59PM
Impact PR

A leading American exercise scientist visiting New Zealand says high intensity interval training could be the key in reducing our chronic obesity statistics. 

Dr Jinger Gottschall, an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Penn State University, is in NZ to share research findings which show that short intense bursts of exercise followed by brief rest breaks produced more fat loss than a standard exercise regime. 

Dr Gottschall tracked the fitness progress of two groups of adults, aged 26-60. One group maintained a regular schedule of 60-minute classes, the other switched out one 60-minute class for two 30-minute high intensity training (HIT) classes. 

The results, which were recently published in the Journal of Fitness Research, were “impressive”, Dr Gottschall said.

“The group doing a Sprint programme showed significantly better results in many areas. HIT training gave participants much better results in fitness, strength and body fat. Blood pressure and cholesterol results were also surprisingly strong,” she says.

Dr Gottschall works closely with Les Mills’ Head of Research Bryce Hastings and previously worked with the gym chain on the development of its HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Sprint and Grit programmes.

Dr Gottschall’s research focuses on physical fitness in adults for the preservation of independence and prevention of disease, advises fitness professionals to stay up to date with the latest research to best help their clients.

“Education is absolutely required to be an effective health and fitness professional, both from academic as well as practical sources,” she says.

“It is imperative that we continually learn about the multiple factors associated with gaining weight as well as the consequences of remaining at an unhealthy weight.

“Overweight and obese individuals battle these challenging consequences on a daily basis and often the result is a lack of desire to be active. Therefore extra pounds cause a chain reaction of moving less and gaining more until the typical activities of daily life are near impossible,” says Dr Gottschall.  

Hastings says it's great to have the research to provide a foundation for programme development.
“We’ve known that short HIIT classes give exercisers great results, but having the numbers to back this up was a real eye-opener,” Hastings said. “The time spent working out is the same, but we’re getting better results.”

Shortened sessions also worked for people with a busy schedule. “People can jump on a bike in their lunch break and smash out an intense workout that’s gentle on their joints. What’s more, the research shows that the shorter HIIT workouts actually lead to even better fitness results,” says Hastings. 

Dr Gottschall’s research will be integrated into exercise programmes for Les Mills International which will be taught to hundreds of thousands of participants and in 100 countries globally.