Sport & Exercise Science, Sports Medicine & Healthcare

Short bursts of exercise most beneficial to teenagers

Teenagers should run around like young children and do short bursts of high-intensity exercise, according to a new study in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental.

Adolescents doing as little as two minutes of strenuous exercise four times a day, gain benefits in improved long-term health.

The research indicated that the same level of medium-intensity exercise did not reap the same rewards for teenagers.

They found that when exercise was broken up into short bursts over the course of a day in much the same way young children are active, then only high-intensity exercise is effective in improving blood sugar levels, fat metabolism and blood pressure in adolescents after the consumption of a fatty meal.

The research adds to the growing body of literature suggesting that accumulating short bouts of high-intensity exercise may be more important for cardiovascular health than exercising at a moderate intensity.

This is important, as cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the UK and the process underlying these diseases starts in youth.

Co-author Dr Alan Barker, from the University of Exeter, said: “Children and adolescents tend to perform brief bouts of exercise.”

“This study shows that the intensity of this pattern of exercise is important, with high-intensity providing superior health benefits than moderate-intensity exercise.”

In the study, adolescents had their blood sugar, blood pressure and fat metabolism measured at regular intervals over eight hours, which included the consumption of a fatty meal for breakfast and lunch.

During this period the participants were asked to perform four bouts of high or moderate-intensity exercise.

This allowed the researchers to conclude that the intensity of exercise is important for health in adolescents when the exercise is accumulated during the day.

Source: Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental.

Tagged with: ,


Human Kinetics is the world's leading information provider on physical activity and health. This blog is operated by the European division of Human Kinetics, based in Leeds in the United Kingdom. In this blog we aim to bring you our latest products, news on our existing products and articles and information on health, exercise, fitness, PE, nutrition and much, much more.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.