|If you exercise regularly, no doubt you've heard someone talking about interval training, and
perhaps wondered if you might add these short bursts of intense activity to your own routine.
Wonder no more! Where once interval training was the domain of superstar athletes
and Olympians, new research has shown adding this type of training to your workout could have
significant benefits for the rest of us.
More older people as well as those with chronic health problems like diabetes or heart disease
can now be encouraged to make interval training part of their routine. And with good reason, as
it appears to be a more efficient way to lose weight no matter what age, or physical state,
you're in at present. "The benefit of interval training is that it's a very efficient way to
increase your fitness quickly," explains researcher Tim Church of the Pennington Biomedical
When you think interval training, think ZUMBA, dancing, sprinting, jumping rope, skipping and
running in place, as well as alternatives like swimming, rowing or stair climbing. Even a walk can
incorporate interval workouts, pick up the pace in short spurts or throw in some hills. What you
want to do is get your heart rate to about 85% of maximum for short bursts, then slow it back to
a more moderate pace.
Understand that this isn't a workout for the lazy, or faint of heart, but if you make the effort, interval
training can bring you some incredible advantages. It's the fastest way to get fit and improve
your performance. Those in the fitness world have long held that interval training is also the
best way to lose fat.
Researchers out of Australia have tried to find the most effective interval of time,and believe 8
seconds is it. Experiments involved 20 minute sessions on stationary bikes where participants
alternated between 12 seconds of slow, easy pedaling into 8-second intense periods where they
pedaled as hard as they could. This amounts to about 8 minutes of hard exercise per session,
which brought significant payoff. Participants lost an average of 6 pounds of body fat over the
four month study period. This compares to less than 2 pounds lost by the subjects who cycled
steadily for 40 minutes.
Why the difference? No one is sure but the researchers speculate that the reason may involve
chemical compounds known as catecholamines, substances that tell the fat cells to release
their fat. Our body seems to produce more of these during intense types of exercise that elevate
the heart rate that it does during more moderate activity.
If you decide to make interval training part of your exercise routine, it's important to start out
slowly, taking care if you're just getting active after a long stint behind a desk or away from the
field. You may not realize how out of shape you are, and thus are more prone to hurt yourself,
which will set your fitness goals back by a lot. Instead, talk with your primary care physician first,
especially if you're living with a chronic condition.
A session with a personal trainer can also be a wise investment so that you're sure your
technique is what it should be.
Once you get the go ahead you can start making short bursts of intense exercise part of our
routine and see if the increased weight loss holds true for you.