It may be no surprise to you that vigorous exercise is good for your health, but now researchers are starting to find out just how effective high-intensity workouts can be for protecting your body from a number of conditions.
In a new study out of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, researchers discovered that women who can exercise at a higher intensity during a heart stress test are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and other causes. Does this mean that, as a woman, you should take up a more vigorous exercise like running or kickboxing? Not exactly, but it’s a good option if you’re willing to adopt more intense workout routines.
As reported in Healthline, the researchers looked at two groups of women — those with good exercise capacity and those with poor exercise capacity. Women with good exercise capacity were able to exercise at an intensity of 10 metabolic equivalents (METs) or better during a stress echocardiogram. Just so you know, MET level is a measure of how much energy is burned during an activity. Anything over 6 METs is considered vigorous exercise. Running a 10-minute mile is about 10 METs. Mountain biking uphill is 14 METs.
What the researchers found was the women with poor exercise capacity were almost four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to women with good exercise capacity. Poor exercisers were also twice as likely to die from cancer and more than four times as likely to die from other causes, compared to women with a higher fitness level.
That said, the study didn’t look at what women did to reach that level of exercise, so while the study gives an idea of how fit the women were, it didn’t outline what physical activities led them to increase their capacity for vigorous exercises. Fortunately, there are other studies available that indicate what types of vigorous activities can boost your workout capacity.
One of the most well-known is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), the alternating intense-moderate exercise that older veterans did in studies at the Jacobs School at the University of Buffalo. HIIT is attractive for two reasons: the exercise sessions can be short and there’s a built-in low-intensity “recovery” period.
Some HIIT workouts, though, involve a lot of movement — think burpees and jumping jacks. This can be hard on the joints, especially if you are middle-aged or older, or have more weight. The good thing is there are other options available, such as hiking, yoga, or cycling. Want to know more about the benefits of vigorous exercise? Follow the link right here.