Researchers at University of Exeter found that an intensive exercise before indulging a high fat meal has benefits for blood vessels in young people compared to currently recommended moderate-intensity exercise.
Scientists compared the high-intensity, short interval exercise against a moderate-intensity exercise in terms of effects on blood vessel function in adolescent boys and girls after they ate a high fat milkshake.
The study showed that a 25 minute moderate-intensity cycling exercise prevented the fall on blood vessel function after eating the fat meal. However, only eight minutes of high-intensity cycling not only had the same result as the moderate exercise, but also improved blood vessel function so a level superior provided by moderate-intensity exercise.
Researcher Alan Barker said that their study shows that the intensity of exercise plays an important part in protecting blood vessel function in young people after the ingestion of a high fat meal.
Barker added that furthermore, both the boys and girls found the high-intensity exercise to be more enjoyable than the moderate-intensity exercise. Considering that very few adolescents currently achieve the recommended minimum of one hour of at least moderate-intensity exercise per day, smaller amounts of exercise performed at a higher-intensity might offer an attractive alternative to improve blood vessel function in adolescents.
The researchers say the next step is to move the work beyond healthy adolescents and study those with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as obesity and type I diabetes.
The study is published in the American Journal of Physiology — Heart and Circulatory Physiology.