Answer: The “fat-burning zone” lies between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. When you exercise at this low intensity, your body draws energy from fat. As your heart rate goes up, more energy comes from carbs. So it seems logical that to lose fat you should keep your heart rate low. But that’s not the case.
Doing cardio at higher intensities causes you to burn a lower percentages of fat calories in favor of carbs, but you use more total calories. And that’s the key to slimming down. Plus, since you torch more total calories, the absolute amount of fat burned actually increases too.
Sprinting WILL help you burn fat and burn fat faster than a lower intensity workout such as jogging or going for a long run. Cardio fitness helps the heart to pump stronger and more efficiently and your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently. The pounding of weight-bearing activities like walking and running may cause more fat burning than a seated exercise like biking, or an activity like swimming where there is no pounding at all.
Professor James Timmons from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh reports that sprinting “can boost the body’s metabolism sharply, helping to prevent weight gain and diabetes.” He states “sprinting not only burns calories during its duration, but greatly improves overall metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories even when not sprinting.”
According to the Mayo Clinic “within two months of starting, frequent aerobic exercise can increase HDL cholesterol by about 5 percent in otherwise healthy sedentary adults.” One study showed individuals who ran more than 50 miles per week had significantly greater increases in HDL cholesterol (good fat) and significantly greater decreases in body fat, triglyceride levels, and the risk of coronary heart disease than individuals who ran less than 10 miles per week. In addition, the long-distance runners had a nearly 50% reduction in high blood pressure and more than a 50% reduction in the use of medications to lower blood pressure and plasma cholesterol levels.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all healthy adults should do the following:
1. Frequency of training: three to five days per week
2. Intensity of training: 55/65%-90% of maximum heart rate
3. Duration of training: 20-60 minutes of continuous or intermittent aerobic activity
4. Mode of activity: any activity that uses large muscle groups, which can be maintained continuously and is rhythmical and aerobic in nature (for example, walking-hiking, running-jogging, cycling, bicycling, cross-country skiing, aerobic dance/group exercise, rope skipping, rowing, stair climbing, swimming, skating, and various endurance game activities or some combination thereof).
Sprinting does have many health benefits, especially for your heart and lungs. Regular cardio exercise is key to keeping up with your overall health and fitness!