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Scientists Discover A Better Way Of Exercising That Takes Half The Time

Research shows how High Intensity Interval Training can have greater affects than endurance training: Sick of running miles on a treadmill – what if you could get a better workout in half the time?

High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT training, has become the recent buzz in the fitness world. This style of Workout is having a positive impact on everyone from beginners to professional athletes. Many people have adopted HIIT training in order to meet their physical goals. Researchers from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute ( have found cellular mechanisms behind the positive benefits of HIIT training.

Running Treadmill

What is HIIT training? HIIT training is about using short bursts of exercises at exhausting levels. For example what if you ran 6, 30-second sprints, with a 3 minute rest in between? Depending on your physical condition, you are probably going to feel very tired. So how is it that you feel more fatigued after 3 minutes of work compared to 60 minutes of low intensity work like jogging? The answer is HIIT.



Short bursts of heart thumping activity has been shown to make muscles work harder, and increase the production of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the motor units found in each cell, and generates the energy that our cells need to do their job. HIIT training also increases the breakdown of calcium channels due to increased production of free radicals. Therefore, the muscle cells have an anti-oxidative system for trapping and nullifying the radicals.


Researches also determined that antioxidants like Vitamins C and E, eliminate the effect on the calcium channels, which causes diminishing of the muscles response to endurance training.

According to Hakan Westerblad, a professor of pharmacology and physiology stated:

“Our study shows that 3 minutes of high-intensity exercise breaks down calcium channels in the muscle cells. This causes a lasting change in how the cells handle calcium, and is an excellent signal for adaption, such as the formation of new mitochondria. Antioxidants remove the effect on the calcium channels, which might explain why they can weaken muscle response to endurance training and they also show that the calcium channels aren’t affected by the three minutes of high-intensity interval exercises in elite endurance athletes, who have built up more effective anti-oxidative systems.”


The study included male subjects who cycled for 30 seconds at maximum exertion, followed by 4 minutes of rest. The interval was repeated 6 times. Twenty-four hours after the test, tissue was taken from their quadriceps muscle. The results revealed an increased rate of free radicals, proving that just a few minutes of intense exercise have increased benefits.



The article has been published in the journal PNAS entitled “Ryanodine receptor fragmentation and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ leak after one session of high-intensity interval exercise.” Article:

For a HIIT workout with no equipment check out this video by Fitness Blender