Exercise snacks are a time-efficient alternative to moderate-intensity continuous training for improving cardiorespiratory fitness but not maximal fat oxidation in inactive adults: a randomized controlled trial

  • Yin M
  • Deng S
  • Chen Z
  • et al.
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Abstract

The aims of this study were (1) to determine how stair-climbing-based exercise snacks (ES) compared to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and (2) to explore whether ES could improve maximal fat oxidation rate (MFO) in inactive adults. Healthy, young, inactive adults ( n: 42, age: 21.6 ± 2.3 years, BMI: 22.5 ± 3.6 kg·m −2 , peak oxygen uptake (VO 2 peak): 33.6 ± 6.3 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 ) were randomly assigned to ES, MICT, or Control. ES ( n = 14) and MICT ( n = 13) groups performed three sessions per week over 6 weeks, while the control group ( n = 15) maintained their habitual lifestyle. ES involved 3 × 30 s “all-out” stair-climbing (6 flight, 126 steps, and 18.9 m total height) bouts separated by >1 h rest, and MICT involved 40 min × 60%–70% HR max stationary cycling. A significant group × time interaction was found for relative VO 2 peak ( p < 0.05) with ES significantly increasing by 7% compared to baseline (MD = 2.5 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 (95% CI = 1.2, 3.7), Cohen’s d = 0.44), while MICT had no significant effects (MD = 1.0 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 (−1.1, 3.2), Cohen’s d = 0.17), and Control experienced a significant decrease (MD = −1.7 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 (−2.9, −0.4), Cohen’s d = 0.26). MFO was unchanged among the three groups (group × time interaction, p > 0.05 for all). Stair climbing-based ES are a time-efficient alternative to MICT for improving CRF among inactive adults, but the tested ES intervention appears to have limited potential to increase MFO.

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Yin, M., Deng, S., Chen, Z., Zhang, B., Zheng, H., Bai, M., … Li, Y. (2024). Exercise snacks are a time-efficient alternative to moderate-intensity continuous training for improving cardiorespiratory fitness but not maximal fat oxidation in inactive adults: a randomized controlled trial. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2023-0593

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