High-intensity exercise changes how muscle cells manage calcium

Torso shot of a young man with bare chest lifting dumbbells. Fit young man exercising with dumbbells on grey background. Cropped image of sweaty bodybuilder.

Torso shot of a young man with bare chest lifting dumbbells. Fit young man exercising with dumbbells on grey background. Cropped image of sweaty bodybuilder.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered a cellular mechanism behind the surprising benefits of short, high-intensity interval exercise. Their findings, which are published in the scientific journal PNAS, also provide clues to why antioxidants undermine the effect of endurance training.

A few minuets of high-intensity interval exercise is enough to produce an effect at least equivalent to that achieved with traditional much more time-consuming endurance training. High-intensity exercise has become popular with sportspeople and recreational joggers alike, as well as with patients with impaired muscle function. However, one question has so far remained unanswered: how can a few minutes’ high-intensity exercise be so effective?

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