If it seems like metabolic syndrome is being talked about often in the news, it’s because it is. Metabolic syndrome—the combination of metabolic risk factors such as large waist circumference, low levels of “good” cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat), to name a few—is on the rise, especially among African Americans. These risk factors make it more likely that an individual with these characteristics will develop diabetes and heart disease.

What can you do about it? A report from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology suggests that interval training—going very fast briefly and then returning to a moderate pace—can stop metabolic syndrome in its tracks. By assigning 32 participants into three groups: those doing interval training, continuous moderate training and no exercise at all, researchers found that those who practiced interval training stabilized their blood sugar levels and increased their good cholesterol by 25 percent.

Want to start an interval program? Click here.