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.