A new study in the International Journal Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism just dug a little deeper to compare oxygen consumption — an indication of metabolism speed — between athletes who performed sprint intervals versus longer bouts of endurance exercise.
The researchers asked eight male students to partake in either 30 minutes of endurance exercise or two-minutes of sprint intervals, three times a week for six weeks. Researchers measured their oxygen consumption (VO2) during and after 24 hours of exercise. Their VO2 was 150 percent higher during endurance exercise than sprinting intervals, yet after 24 hours the overall amount of oxygen consumed between athletes was nearly identical.
Can We Trust It?
The study suggests that when it comes to exercise and metabolism, intensity may be just as important as how long we’re hitting the roads. For those who don’t have 30 minutes to spare, two minutes of (now here’s the key!) intense sprinting will boost metabolism over the next day just as much as a longer aerobic jaunt.
On the flip side, the results are based on a super small sample and only included males subjects. The abstract also leaves us wondering what the two aerobic exercises were, exactly, and what shape the men were in to start with. Caveats aside, there is enough science to say that aerobic exercise will help people get healthy and happy, so make sure to squeeze in some heart-pumping cardio, no matter how many minutes long.