A new study, published in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, by Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK has revealed that children and teenagers should do at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Short bursts of activity such as cycling to school, walking or running around during the recess, and doing sports and gymnastics has an accumulative effect and a beneficial effect on health.
“Children and adolescents tend to perform brief bouts of exercise, said Senior author Dr. Alan Barker. This study shows that the intensity of this pattern of exercise is important, with high-intensity providing superior health benefits than moderate-intensity exercise.”
The study participants consisted of 19 teenagers’ whose blood sugar, systolic blood pressure and fat oxidation levels were tracked at regular intervals over 3 days and the teenagers completed three different exercise patterns in random order: rest, four bouts of high intensity and four bouts of moderate intensity exercise performed on exercise bikes. The youngsters consumed a high fat milkshake for breakfast and lunch.
The study findings revealed that neither type of exercise changed levels of excess fat in the blood; brief bouts of high-intensity exercise reduced blood sugar and systolic blood pressure, and increased fat metabolism in the teen boys and girls.
“The intensity of accumulated exercise may therefore have important implications for health outcomes in youth,” said senior author Dr. Alan Barker, a lecturer in pediatric exercise and health at Exeter.
Accumulating exercise and postprandial health in adolescents, Bert Bond et al., Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2015.05.016, published online 6 June 2015, abstract.