Interval Training Workout Cuts Exercise Time
Reported June 04, 2010
If you have trouble finding the time to exercise, there might be a solution for
you according to experts – interval training workout sessions can help you
squeeze a whole week’s exercise quota into less than an hour. This type of
workout was first developed for Olympic athletes and believed to be too tough
for the rest of us. It involves bursts of work at very high intensity alternated
with times of rest or low activity – that’s the interval.
Research over the last few years has shown that older folks and even those with
health problems might actually be able to handle these tough workouts, though
more research is needed before anyone will recommend them.
If the benefits of interval training pan out, this could revolutionize how all
kinds of patients are advised on exercise, perhaps saving them hours at the gym
So far experts have tested workouts like running and biking, but believe
swimming and rowing should be other good training options.
Sounds good, but experts caution that ordinary people, especially those who
haven’t been active for a while, shouldn’t start an interval training program
without first talking to a doctor. Warm ups are also vital. Working with a
trained fitness professional to be sure you’re using proper form so that you get
the most from your workout is also a smart move.
If you do get the okay from your doctor to give interval training a try,
Helgerud suggests you do four sessions that last 4 minutes each with 3 minutes
of recovery time in between. Only elite athletes should be making an all out
effort, for the rest of us, work up to this level. During the exercise session,
you want to be a bit out of breath, but not coping with an obvious feeling of
The research suggests interval training could really impact how much time you
spend in the gym each week. As an example, a man in his mid 30s who is already
active could get in top shape in about 6 weeks with weekly 45 minute interval
training sessions. The same level of fitness would take about three months of
regular training. Experts tell us this is due to the fact that body needs
intense bursts of activity to build stronger muscles, to change one type of
muscle fiber into another that uses oxygen more efficiently.
Traditional workouts just don’t push the body enough.
When you compare a normal exercise routine, jogging for example, to an interval
training workout, researchers find you double your endurance; improve your
oxygen use and strength by 10% and your speed by at least 5%.
Even studies among populations like the elderly and heart patients showed better
oxygen use and fitness after interval training.
And remember, all types of exercise (interval training workouts and more
moderate) are able to improve blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Not to
mention help you manage stress, burn calories, strengthen your immune system and
give your body benefits that will last today and for years to come.