Interval Training: More Effect in Less Time

May 16, 2014 in Our News & Bulletins by Primary Spine & Rehab

Get it done faster.  That seems to be what most people want in life.  For your fitness routine, interval training may help with that.  There’s research to back up the theories.  Interval training involves cardio workouts in which you alternate bursts of vigorous exercise with slower recovery periods.  When you do this in such a way that your overall intensity is greater, you can cut your workout time by about 20%.  Here’s what the research says:

  • A recent review in Integrative Medicine Alert finds that shorter interval workouts prove as effective as continuous moderate cardio exercise if not more so.  They were measuring ability to increase maximum exercise capacity, reduce body fat, and raise good cholesterol – HDL.
  • Better at controlling diabetes: A 2009 study in Clinical Science finds that interval training improves insulin sensitivity more than other exercise approaches. Most exercise is good for diabetes, but interval training may be better.
  • Burning Calories: Expert consensus seems to be that interval training will burn more glycogen and ATP than continuous, moderate cardio.  It’s analogous to the concept of constantly pushing your throttle to the floor when accelerating your car versus gradually increasing the speed.  The former burns more gas – except in our bodies it’s a good thing.

To get started with interval training, consider replacing one or two of your normal aerobic work outs with an interval routine.  You can keep whatever you are doing the same (e.g. running, cycling, swimming, walking).  You should work hard enough during speed phases that your muscles burn and that when you finish, it’s hard to speak more than a couple of words at a time.  As you progress, you can add more speed sessions while shortening your recovery periods.  Eventually, you may be able to have speed and recovery intervals that are equal in time and frequency, but you shouldn’t start out trying that.

Note that high-intensity exercise of any sort presents a risk of cardiac events and orthopedic injury.  You should consult a health care professional if there is any reason that intensifying your exercise routine might result in injury.  Call us for professional assistance with individual or group exercise plans.

Interval Training

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