By Dr. Mercola: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/arch...
Did you know that working out just 20 minutes using interval exercise may provide many of the same benefits of much longer workouts done in conventional "long-duration" style?
A growing body of research shows you may not need to spend as much time exercising as you think — provided that you are willing to truly put in some effort when you do.
Most recently, a Canadian research team recently gathered several groups of volunteers, including sedentary but generally healthy middle-aged men and women, and patients of a similar age who had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.1
The participants were asked to undertake a program of cycling intervals — repeated short bursts of strenuous activity, divided by rest periods.
According to the New York Times2:
"Most of us have heard of intervals, or repeated, short, sharp bursts of strenuous activity, interspersed with rest periods.
Almost all competitive athletes strategically employ a session or two of interval training every week to improve their speed and endurance.
But the Canadian researchers were not asking their volunteers to sprinkle a few interval sessions into exercise routines.
Instead, the researchers wanted the groups to exercise exclusively with intervals."
After several weeks on the program, both the unfit volunteers and the cardiac patients showed significant improvements in their health and fitness. Most remarkably, the cardiac patients showed "significant improvements" in both heart and blood vessel functioning. And, contrary to what popular belief might dictate, the intense exercises did not cause any heart problems for any of the cardiac patients. The belief is that the brevity of the exercise helps insulate your heart from the intensity.
How Intense is "High Intensity" Training?
The key to make interval training work is intensity. The cycling program developed for the out of shape and ill patients in the featured study3 was a gentler version of the interval training typically used, when you really go all out to reach your maximum heart rate. In this modified routine, the participants did one minute of strenuous effort, raising their heart rate to about 90 percent of their maximum, followed by one minute of recovery.
These intervals were repeated 10 times for a 20 minute long workout.
Your maximum heart rate can be roughly calculated as 220 minus your age. However, to measure the intensity of your effort, you really need a heart rate monitor. It's nearly impossible to accurately measure your heart rate manually when it is above 150. And accuracy is important. There's a big difference between a heart rate of 170 and 174 (or 160 and 164 if you are over 50). Once you reach your maximum heart rate you may feel a bit light headed and, of course, VERY short of breath. But your body catches up quite rapidly and in about 30-60 seconds you will start to feel much better. Most people feel tired but great once they're done.
For the past couple of years, I've heavily promoted high intensity interval training as a key strategy for improving your health, boosting weight loss, promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, and improving strength and stamina. I've been doing it myself since April 2010, after meeting fitness expert Phil Campbell (author of Ready Set Go), so I can also vouch for its effectiveness from personal experience.
Read entire article here: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/arch...
Next Discussion: Type 2 Survey »