The basics of interval training

Routine exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. When attempting to incorporate exercise into their lives for the first time or after a long layoff, adults may go through a trial and error period as they attempt to find a routine they enjoy. Interval training is one approach to exercise that may be worth consideration.

What is interval training?

Sometimes referred to as high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, interval training involves alternating between short bursts of intense exercise and brief periods of rest or less intense activity. The Mayo Clinic notes that periods of high-intensity exercise may be as brief as 30 seconds, while the less intense portions of the routine typically last between one to two minutes.

What are some benefits of interval training?

The time constraints of traditional workouts may compromise busy adults’ ability to exercise regularly. But interval training sessions don’t tend to take as long thanks to the periods of high-intensity exercise. According to the Harvard Medical School, an interval training session that lasts 15 to 20 minutes can produce the same cardiovascular results as a more traditional, moderate 30-minute exercise session.

Interval training also can help people who are not constrained by time get better results. The Mayo Clinic notes that, as a person’s body adjusts to more high-intensity exercise, his or her aerobic capacity will improve. That should enable them to exercise for longer periods of time at a higher intensity, producing better results over the long haul. Before increasing the intensity of their workouts, adults can consult their physicians to ensure they’re capable of doing so safely.

Interval training also can be beneficial to people without access to exercise equipment, a position many fitness enthusiasts found themselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without acess to weights due to gym closures, some people may have found their workouts lacked the intensity they had grown accustomed to. By interval training when running, cycling, walking, swimming, or using cardiovascular machines, adults can make their workouts more intense.

Can anyone utilize interval training?

Getting a physical prior to beginning an interval training regimen can help people determine just how much intensity they can handle. But alternating between intensity levels during a workout should be something most adults can handle, especially after they consult with their physicians about the level of intensity their bodies can handle. The Mayo Clinic also urges people to consider their risk for overuse injury. Muscle, tendon and bone injuries can occur if exercise regimens become too intense too quickly, so take things slowly at first and readjust intensity levels depending on how your body reacts.

Interval training can be a great way to get vigorous exercise even when time is limited.

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