Boost Your Workout with Interval Training

Interval training has long been a key component of training routines for athletes. But this method of exercising can benefit anyone, not just trained athletes. Interval training, which consists of alternating intervals of high-intensity exercise followed by a lower-intensity recovery period, can help you add some variety to your workout while also helping you to burn more calories and improve your aerobic capacity, allowing you to work out longer or more intensely.

Interval training can help you get the most bang for your buck out of your workout, by incorporating both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise relies on oxygen for energy production and refers to low to moderate intensity activities that increase your heart rate and breathing, but can be maintained for longer periods of time. Examples of aerobic activities include jogging, swimming, and cycling. Anaerobic exercise relies on energy stored in the muscles instead of oxygen. Though anaerobic exercise is not as effective for burning fat as aerobic exercise is, anaerobic exercise helps burn fat indirectly by increasing the metabolic rate after your workout is complete. Due to its high intensity level, can only be sustained for brief periods of time. Anaerobic activities include sprint running, spring swimming and weight lifting.

Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise have specific benefits. Aerobic exercise helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, burn fat, lower blood pressure, and improve your cholesterol profile, while anaerobic exercise helps to build and strengthen muscle, increase metabolism, and strengthen bones. However, during intense exercise, your muscles produce the waste product lactic acid, which can contribute to sore muscles. An accumulation of lactic acid can leave you feeling exhausted and in pain. By alternating exercise intensity, interval training can help to reduce the buildup of lactic acid in muscles.

So how do you create the right interval training program for you? Interval training can be done with several different types of activities, including running, biking or swimming. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula; the length and intensity of each interval depends on what you hope to achieve with your workout, and your general level of fitness. You may want to speak with a trainer to develop a personalized interval training program.

If your goal is to increase your general fitness level, you can structure the length and intensity of your intervals based on how you feel that day. For example, you may choose to alternative two minutes of jogging with 30 seconds of sprinting, and slowly increase the length of your high-speed intervals or decrease the length of your recovery intervals throughout your workout.

If you have a more specific fitness goal in mind, you may want to take a more scientific approach to creating a program and create specific goals based on the following factors: intensity of each interval, duration of each high-intensity interval, duration of recovery interval, and the number of repetitions you would like to complete.

However you decide to structure your interval training program, always be sure to warm up for a few minutes before your workout, and cool down at the end.

Always remember that before you begin any diet or exercise program you should consult your physician.


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