A University of Stirling academic provided expert guidance on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as part of a new BBC One documentary analysing alternative ways to keep fit.
Dr Niels Vollaard, Lecturer in Health and Exercise Science, discussed the benefits of HIIT – which involves a couple of very short bursts of strenuous exercise carried out in succession – on ‘The Truth About Getting Fit’, broadcast on Wednesday, 31 January.
Presenter Michael Mosley met a number of other UK-based experts, as he puts together a six-week fitness programme based on Dr Vollaard’s research.
As part of his investigation, Mosley set up a specialist exercise bike in a busy London office to test whether workers can improve their fitness by embarking upon just two minutes of intense exercise a week.
Dr Vollaard discussed his own research which shows that a short HIIT workout three times a week leads to fitness improvements similar to those observed following a strenuous running training programme consisting of four 45-minute sessions per week.
He said: “With both approaches, you see a 10-15 per cent improvement in aerobic fitness, which is very worthwhile.
“The difference is that our HIIT regime is much more time-efficient.”
Mosley also visited Sheffield to consider whether recording 10,000 steps a day is the best way to walk to fitness – or if a 10-minute brisk stroll might be more effective.
In Coventry, cognitive scientists revealed that the best exercise for the brain – as well as the body – could be dancing, while a sports psychologist in Loughborough discussed the most effective ways to stick to fitness plans.
Meanwhile, during a trip to Glasgow, Mosely met strength experts where he observed a six-week experiment comparing the effects of heavy versus light weights on building muscle, with surprising results.
'The Truth About Getting Fit’ screened at 8pm on Wednesday, 31 January on BBC One.