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HIIT more effective for weight loss than lengthy, moderate forms of exercise

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a more effective way to lose weight than longer, more moderate forms of exercise.

That is the key finding of a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which looked at 36 studies involving more than 1,000 people.

The combined results from the studies suggested that those using HIIT lost 28.5 per cent more weight than those taking part in less intense forms of exercise.

The report's conclusion reads: "The present systematic review with meta-analysis showed that interval training provides benefits similar to moderate-intensity continuous training (MOD) in total body fat percentage reduction.

"However, interval training provided a greater total absolute fat mass (kg) reduction than MOD.

"A number of factors may positively influence the effects of interval training on total absolute fat mass, including supervision of exercise, walking/running/jogging as the exercise of choice, age, study quality and intervention duration.

"In general, our findings suggest that the ‘signal in the noise’ is the similar effects of interval training and MOD on total body fat percentage (%) management and the superiority of interval training for total absolute fat mass (kg) reduction, yet that these effects can be produced in a ‘time-efficient’ manner when using interval training."

The report does, however, point out that HIIT might not be suitable for all.

"It is important to be aware of the possible risks and caveats associated with higher intensity training," the report reads.

"For example, it might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress. Adherence should also be examined, as higher intensity protocols can result in higher discomfort."

For the report, researchers from the Federal University of Goias, Brazil, analysed data from 576 men and 522 women of varying levels of fitness.

The HIIT workouts were compared with more moderate workouts between 30 and 45 minutes.

To download and read the full report, click here for the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a more effective way to lose weight than longer, more moderate forms of exercise.
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