Sunday, August 3, 2008

More Benefits of Interval Training

I've been singing the praises of cardio intervals for fat loss for quite a while now. However, if you've ever wondered whether intervals produce heart related benefits like those of slower cardio training, check out the article link below.

Don't get hung up on the fact that the study participants performed all-out 30 second sprints. Regardless of your age or current fitness level, you can do interval training.

For example, if you currently walk on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes at 3.4 mph, you could instead try walking at 3.7 for 60 seconds and then slow down to 3.0 for a 60 or 120 second recovery. That's considered one interval. Repeat that pattern 6 times, cool down and you're done.

(Obviously, you need to prepare your body properly for this type of workout. If you're doing nothing but cardio that day, warm up for at least 5 minutes before your first interval. If you're doing intervals after a a strength training session, you can probably get by with just 3-5 minutes on the treadmill before starting the intervals. Listen to your body. If you feel like you need to warm up longer, do it.)

You just need to understand that performing cardio intervals is not a matter of speed; it's about intensity. The goal is to challenge yourself in short bursts at a intensity that you couldn't maintain for longer periods.

Everyone is different. While 3.7 mph for 60 seconds would be a challenge for one person, it would be too slow for someone else but it doesn't matter. The actual speed or resistance you use isn't important.

On a scale of 1 to 10, you want to feel like you're working at an 8 or 9 during the hard part of the interval. If you're currently really out of shape, work up to that level.

The recovery (slow) part of the interval should be performed at a much easier level of 3 or 4 out of 10.

So if 3.7 mph challenges you, that's what you should do. If it's too easy go faster; if it's too hard, slow down.

Because of the intensity of this type of exercise, limit interval training to 3 times a week.

Fat loss, time saving, and cardiovascular health benefits. If you're not currently doing cardio intervals, why not?

Brief, Intense Exercise Can Benefit The Heart, Study Shows

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