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Rest periods just as important as exercise itself

Published on 18/01/2013

If you want to get the most out of your exercise regime, make sure you build rest periods into your schedule to make your body fitter faster.

According to a new study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, short periods of rest from exercise are just as important as exercise itself for improving power and performance.

Sports scientists from Stirling University split 12 cyclists into two groups to carry out two different training programmes.

The first programme involved a mixture of tough training and taking it easy. The group did bursts of high intensity exercise interspersed with short rest periods three times a week.

The second group rode continuously for an hour three times a week at a slightly easier pace. After four weeks the groups swapped programmes.

Tests showed that the first programme was twice as effective as the second regime at improving power and performance.

According to the researchers, muscles find it harder to recover from long periods of exercise than from short bursts.

Author Steve Galloway said: “It is a case of training smarter. We found in these cyclists that if you can make the hard sessions harder and the easy sessions easier, then you will likely see better progress.”

They concluded that people who want to get fit would benefit from combining high intensity and low intensity exercise, as well as building periods of rest into their regime.

If getting fit is one of your New Year’s resolutions, see if your medical insurance policy offers discounted gym membership to help you on your road to wellbeing.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

Categories:  Health
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