A LEISURELY stroll to maintain your good health may not be a substitute for getting hot and sweaty, new research has found.
The longitudinal study involving 204,542 New South Wales adults between 45 and 75-years-old, found that people who did vigorous exercise were 13% less likely to die prematurely than those who only did moderate exercise, such as walking.
Even more astounding, were the results that showed those who did regular vigorous exercise were half as likely to die prematurely as those who did not exercise.
Ballina Riverside 24/7 Fitness owner and personal trainer Steve Fettell said vigorous training, or high-intensity interval training, burns more fat than regular exercise, which helps to reduce the risk of weight-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
"Lower fat levels have a huge effect on heart health," he said.
"For a male, abdominal fat inhibits the release of testosterone.
"That has an overall effect on health as well as mental state.
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"If you've got half an hour to go for a walk, why not use 15 to 20 minutes as high-intensive interval, or use the whole 30 minutes for high intensity."
Goonellabah Sport and Aquatic Centre personal trainer George Stevens said high-intensity training helps boost the body's post exercise oxygen consumption, burning fat for longer.
"It increases your base metabolic rate, which is basically how many calories you're burning at rest," he said.
"So for a shorter time period you get a better result, and you burn a lot more calories at rest.
"It also helps to strengthen up the heart, so your cardiovascular system, arterial walls, everything like that."
Mr Stevens said group classes and fitness companies like Crossfit were good because the exercises can be scaled to ability and the social aspects help to keep people motivated.
"It's so much easier to train socially than by yourself, so group fitness classes in general are much easier to keep motivated and a lot more people who do group fitness classes keep committed to it," he said.