A vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is staying physically active. From brisk walking to yoga to strength training, any of these forms of movement enhance overall health.
But if there was one exercise option that is superior to others, what would it be? The answer to this question that would apply to most individuals is interval training. Interval training is simply alternating short bursts (about 30 seconds) of intense activity with longer intervals (about 1 to 2 minutes) of less intense activity.
What are examples of what interval training looks like? One example would be brisk walking for about 2 minutes and then, interspersed within your walk, a short burst of jogging or sprinting of up to 30 seconds. Go back and forth between walking and short bursts of jogging for about 15 minutes or longer. For people who are less fit, try alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. If you’re walking outdoors such as in a park, walk faster between certain landmarks or trees and then reduce your speed between other landmarks, making it easy to practice interval training.
Why is interval training a smarter way to work out? Interval training changes up the intensity of effort when you are exercising. It basically keeps your body guessing what you’re going to do next. This same way of working out also helps you gain the maximum cardiovascular benefits helping reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Interval training also leads to a bigger calorie burn than traditional exercise helping reduce abdominal fat while maintaining muscle mass, improves insulin sensitivity, and is a more effective and efficient means of reaching a higher level of fitness.
Here are other ways interval training can help:
Improves aerobic capacity
Interval training is ideal for improving cardiovascular fitness. It will help you be able to exercise longer and with more intensity. You’ll find yourself getting better at walking faster or lifting heavier weights the more you practice this form of working out.
Requires no special equipment
Forget about shelling out money for expensive exercise equipment. Interval training is easily performed with walking, jogging, running, biking, or swimming. The most expensive thing you’ll need to buy is a good pair of walking/running shoes. But, if you already have an elliptical trainer, treadmill, or stationary bicycle, you can use these standard exercise equipment to do interval training on.
Makes better use of your time
Time is precious and one of the biggest excuses for people who skip exercising is not having enough time. This is where interval training can fix that. An interval training workout takes less time than a standard cardiovascular workout without sacrificing results. By switching back and forth from slower to faster, you can reap the same results in working out with interval training in 15 minutes as what you would in 30 minutes or more.
Reduces workout boredom
Doing the same thing over and over when working out gets old fast. That’s where interval training helps bust up boring workouts by changing the pace and intensity frequently. It keeps you on your toes and adds a new dimension of achieving your fitness goals keeping you more motivated for the long run.