A new study has revealed that short bouts of high-intensity exercise before a fatty meal work best for vascular health.
University of Exeter's study found that a short burst of intensive exercise before eating a high fat meal is better for blood vessel function in young people than the currently recommended moderate-intensity exercise.
The study compared high-intensity, interval exercise against moderate-intensity exercise on blood vessel function in adolescent boys and girls after they had consumed a high fat milkshake.
It showed that approximately 25 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling prevented the fall in blood vessel function after the high fat meal. However, just eight minutes of high-intensity cycling not only prevented this fall, but improved blood vessel function to a level that was superior to 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.