Interval training has exploded in popularity over the last few years with people using it for weight loss and for improving general fitness. It is heralded as one of the best ways for runners to increase their performance, both in terms of speed and stamina. Interval training is defined as a workout that alternates between periods of low intensity and high intensity exercise.
When interval training is applied to running, for example, a person would run at a high speed for a certain amount of time, followed by a recovery period of slower running. The recovery aspect of interval training is essential because it enables your body to better handle the periods of high intensity. This means that as you continue to train you will be able to run faster for longer periods of time.
Interval Training for Weight Loss
Interval training is an incredibly effective activity for weight loss because of the varying ways your body responds to the different periods of exercise. As you work at a high intensity, your body will mostly burn carbohydrates, and then during the periods of low intensity your body will be burning mostly fat. This is because you will need to use your fat stores to recover from the period of high intensity!
Interval Training and Nutrition
When you combine this type of exercise with a healthy eating programme the results can be fantastic. As well as helping you to lose weight, interval training is also believed to be beneficial for promoting general optimum health and helping to prevent disease. Aerobic exercise has long been associated with disease prevention, especially when it comes to strokes, heart disease and diabetes.
Although there is a wide scope of opinion when it comes to what the best healthy eating diet is, it is undisputed that including a variety of plant-based foods is a great idea. Fruits and vegetables are delicious, not to mention low in fat and calories. They also contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are of great benefit to the body when consumed regularly.
Interval Training for Runners
Research into the advantages of interval training are ongoing with several studies suggesting it might be even more effective than longer periods of aerobic exercise. This is thought to be especially true of running performance because teaching your body to run faster is quite a gradual process. When your muscles are allowed the period of recovery, they become better able to keep your body going strong when they are required to work at a higher intensity.
A good interval training session for runners to get you started is to run at a hard effort for two minutes, followed by three minutes of light jogging or walking. Repeat this five times.
Other Ways to Use Interval Training
Running is certainly not the only way to enjoy the benefits of interval training. Skipping rope is also a great activity to incorporate this concept in to. An easy workout to get you started is to jump rope as fast as you can for one minute followed by one minute of rest.
Do this for 30 minutes and you will have completed a serious cardio workout! As your practice progresses you can begin to complete this 30 minute session by skipping for two minutes at a high intensity and resting for one minute.
As you get older your aerobic fitness will gradually decline and this makes it all the more important to make an effort to sustain this aspect of your health. Experts suggest this decline occurs by approximately 1% every year after the age of 30. Running is a great way to work to combat this decline and utilising the benefits of interval training will aid those efforts.
As with most forms of exercise, it is best to have a period of rest between interval training workouts and you should not do it every day. They are especially tough on the body because of the high intensity portions and you could suffer an injury if you do not allow your body the time it needs to recover properly. It is advisable to simply substitute one of your regular training sessions during the week for an interval training session.
If you are a beginner to fitness then you should perhaps not dive straight into interval training! Work to get your strength and stamina up first with more conventional methods before you attempt it. Once you are incorporating interval training into your schedule regularly then you will be saving time as your workouts can be shorter. This means great results with less time spent in the gym!