The article discussed the results of a research study related to interval training. Interval training, as the Inc.com writer so accurately summarized, is "short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of either rest or lower-intensity work."
The concept and its benefits are not new. Many of us use some form of short intensity bursts in our workouts and fitness classes.
But the 2016 study uses science to demonstrate that shorter bouts of exercise can provide valuable health benefits. You can read the article and the study itself at the link above.
Here are a few of my key takeaways from the study:
- Exercise intensity matters, as the study illustrates. Adding some interval style routines can result in getting in great shape.
- You can also benefit from incorporating some bursts of intensity into a longer workout, like jogging or swimming, without totally changing your routine. And those bursts do not have to be all out sprints to provide some benefit.
- Intervals can help you break through a plateau in your conditioning. Your body adapts to exercise if you do the same thing all the time, Progress in weight loss and in endurance or strength can slow or stop. Intervals are a good way to change it up and force your body to adapt to a new challenge. Similarly, an occasional longer workout can provide similar benefits.
- Variety is good. Every workout does not need to be intense. Including this concept into your workouts a couple of times a week is enough for most people.
- Do the type of workout you like and therefore will do consistently. If intervals and intense exercise are not your thing, then don't do them. Exercise intensity might matter, as I said above, but if you don't like it or can't safely do it that's fine. Just exercise, and you will be far better off than if you do not.
- Be safe. If you are an older exerciser or are just starting out, don't go so hard in your short intense bursts that you injure yourself. Exercise intensity is relative; create your own definition and tailor it to your personal abilities and goals. If you are new to exercise or are resuming your fitness habit after some time off, you should start easy and build a foundation of physical fitness before implementing the interval training.
- A short workout is better than no workout. The study helps illustrate the important point that even a quick workout can have health benefits Every exercise session does not need to be long and "perfect". If you can amp up the intensity during a quick workout, that's great. But if not that's okay, too - it's still worth doing!
- Finally, here's a a really helpful infographic that helps you better understand the whole interval concept and provides ideas on how to build it into your exercise plan.