It’s high time I tackled the subject of interval training. Interval what? I hear you ask. Well, exactly……that’s my point! You may have come across the term interval training but not know exactly what it means. Put simply it’s when you maximise your cardio exercise.
So what is interval training?
It’s basically a system of elevated heart rate “sprints” mixed with lower heart rate “recovery” sets. The recovery time is where you continue to keep your heart rate going, just not as high as the sprinting. This results in more efficient way to improve not only the aerobic, but also the anaerobic conditioning. (The difference between aerobic and anaerobic is that aerobic uses oxygen and anaerobic doesn’t.)
In layman’s terms……
So rather than running at a steady pace for an hour, you jumble it up by doing short burst of high intensity workouts followed by a much slower workout to catch your breath and start all over again. So a 15 second sprint followed by a minute slow jog repeated several times can be classified as interval training. On the face of it, this
may seem like a bit of a cop out (I should know I thought running continuously was
a proper exercise) but believe you me the benefits are huge and you can shave
off a lot of time exercising and I know in most people’s books, this theory is
always a winner! 🙂 In a nutshell, your heart rate slows down, you use oxygen more efficiently, you get faster – quickly, and you feel great from all those endorphins running around in your bloodstream. So let’s have a closer look at the benefits…..
Endorphin production is ramped to the max – so you feel fantastic. A natural high without the drugs!
Your resting heart rate drops dramatically. So the more
blood your heart pumps the less your heart needs to beat each minute.
Your heart rapidly increases its efficiency with
consistent interval training.
You save wear and tear on your heart – therefore your
heart should last longer.
You get faster! Brilliant if you are competing in a
marathon and want to shave off minutes and seconds off your personal best.
Climbing hills become easier. This is great if like me
you live on a hill (I can never bloody avoid it!)
You’re stronger and faster in every other form of cardio
activity. Because your heart is much more efficient, swimming, cycling, hiking
all just got a lot easier. You can go faster longer and with better energy than
ever before. And yes that includes out doing everyone else on the dance floor
Decreased risk of high pressure. Your heart doesn’t have
to work as hard.
Lowered cholesterol levels. This has many other benefits
including lowered risk of heart disease, arthritis and other inflammatory
Stronger immune system. You build a shield against colds
and flu. Result – fewer trips to the doctors and your boss will be pleased too!
You get younger (I’m living proof 🙂 ) The benefits of exercise
are profound on both physical and personal aspects. You sleep better, you wake
up more refreshed, your skin glows and your digestion improves. Overall you’re
healthy, well and more fun to be around with.
I’m sure I’ve missed numerous other benefits of interval training and exercising in general. But as far as I’m concerned, with all of the ones listed above, it sure is enough to
get me moving. Interval training should be done at least once a week – it’s an
investment that really is worth making!