“No time” is no excuse when it comes to exercise
BY Sara Laux
December 1, 2017
On December 6, McMaster kinesiology professor Martin Gibala will discuss the unique benefits of high-impact interval training at Just the Facts Please: An Exercise in Achieving Optimal Health, a public event exploring the science behind cardiovascular, skeletal and brain health. Gibala explains his topic a bit more here:
What will you be speaking about?
I will be speaking about our research on practical and time-efficient exercise strategies to boost cardiorespiratory fitness or “cardio” health. The importance of fitness is often overlooked, especially in comparison to more traditional markers that can be more easily measure in the doctor’s office like waist circumference, blood pressure and blood sugar. Fitness is a critical marker of risk of dying and developing many chronic diseases, with some people suggesting it should be “the fifth vital sign”.
Will you be presenting anything that’s new in your research?
Yes! Our recent work on interval exercise training shows that brief bouts of vigorous stair-climbing which is a very practical strategy that people can incorporate into their daily lives almost anywhere — is extremely effective to boost fitness. The time commitment is literally minutes per day but the payoff for your health can be tremendous.
What solutions does your research offer for people hoping to achieve better health?
A perceived “lack of time” is one of the most commonly-cited barriers to engaging in regular physical activity. Our research shows that brief bouts of vigorous exercise can be just as effective as prolonged periods of moderate exercise, even though the total time commitment may be as much as five-fold lower. You do not have to devote massive amounts of time to working out or even go to the gym for that matter.
Why is this such an important topic right now?
We face a daily barrage of information regarding the latest and greatest study and the “best” way to work out. It can be overwhelming for people. The conference is intended to help people wade through what is often overhyped and misleading characterizations of the science of exercise, and ideally identify some strategies for healthy living that they can easily adopt in their own lives.
What do you hope people will take away from your lecture?
There are so many different ways to be active and the best activity for you is one that you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick with it over the long term. Interval exercise training extends the range of “menu options” to choose from, as compared to the traditional recipe offered in public health guidelines. I hope people also gain a greater appreciation of the importance of fitness for living a longer, healthier life.