Consuming a high fat diet speeds up the process of atherosclerosis (thickening of the wall of the arteries) and makes some people more likely to develop vascular diseases. A healthy diet combined with an active and healthy lifestyle can effectively improve one's vascular health. Researchers at University of Exeter have revealed that short bouts of high-intensity exercise before a fatty meal are best for vascular health. They found it to be better at improving blood vessel function in young people than the currently recommended moderate-intensity exercise.
During the study, researchers compared high-intensity, interval exercise against moderate-intensity exercise on blood vessel function in adolescent boys and girls after they had consumed a high fat milkshake. They found that approximately 25 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling prevented the fall in blood vessel function after the high fat meal. However, just eight minutes of high-intensity cycling not only prevented this fall, but also improved blood vessel function to a level that was superior to moderate-intensity exercise.
Researcher Alan Barker said, "Our study shows that the intensity of exercise plays an important part in protecting blood vessel function in young people after the ingestion of a high fat meal. Both the boys and girls found the high-intensity exercise to be more enjoyable than the moderate-intensity exercise. Considering that very few adolescents currently achieve the recommended minimum of one hour of at least moderate-intensity exercise per day, smaller amounts of exercise performed at a higher-intensity might offer an attractive alternative to improve blood vessel function in adolescents. The next step is to move the work beyond healthy adolescents and study those with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as obesity and type I diabetes."