IANS, Sydney, Updated: November 02, 2012 11:32 IST
Want to shed that belly fat? Try sprinting, say Australian researchers.
Just 20 minutes of sprints on an exercise bike, three times a week, will do.
It could replace seven hours of jogging over the week for a similar result, according to Steve Boutcher, associate professor at the University of New South Wales, who led the study.
"Sprints are a very time efficient form of exercise. The sprint program, LifeSprints, reduced visceral fat with seven times less exercise time and has a much greater impact on cardiovascular and metabolic health than reductions of subcutaneous fat stores in the legs and arms," Boutcher was quoted as saying in the Journal of Obesity.
Men who participated in the research, lost two kg of body fat, 17 percent of visceral fat, and put on 1.2 kg of muscle in their legs and trunk after the 12-week exercise bike sprints programme, said a university statement.
"Other studies using aerobic exercise, such as continuous jogging, have found that the amount of exercise needed to produce a similar decrease in visceral fat was around seven hours per week for 14 weeks," Boutcher said.
The team of researchers has previously studied the impact of the sprinting programme on women, which also showed a significant loss of body fat from stationary cycling for 20 minutes, three times a week. LifeSprints were also good for those who wanted to boost muscle mass.
"Participation in regular aerobic exercise typically results in little or no gain in muscle mass, whereas moderately hard resistance exercise over months may increase muscle mass. The amount of LifeSprints exercise, however, needed to significantly increase muscle mass appears to be much less," added Boutcher.