I recently blogged about interval training, the exciting workout trend that blends high-intensity bursts of activity with periods of rest. Interval training isn’t new; in fact, pro athletes have done it for years. But now there’s a stack of I-T research that should encourage the most sedentary among us to get moving.
In May I wrote about how a study showed that seven minutes of high-intensity I-T produced the same results as 30 minutes of traditional aerobic movement. Now more research highlights a four-minute exercise program. I don’t know how low you can go, but it seems that, according to this study, you can get fitter and stronger doing just four minutes of exercise several times a week!
How can you put interval training to use right now? Well, let’s say you typically get your cardio by walking. On certain blocks, or between certain park benches, boost your pace to the max. Go as fast as you can – or break out in a jog – then slow down to your normal pace for the next block or bench. Do this several times during your outing. That’s a form of interval training.
If you’re a gym rat who likes to mix it up with equipment and running, try these Cross Fit moves.
If you’re into DVD’s or want to invest in a simple, whole-body routine, try 20-Second Fitness, a series of high-intensity moves that will work you in 4-minute segments. And as I’ve mentioned previously, there’s also Insanity, a DVD series of push-you-to-your-limit I-T workouts for those who are already active.
It doesn’t take a lot to reap great health benefit. Even if you have the busiest of schedules, you can find an interval training workout that fits.
Whatever path you choose, be consistent and you’ll see results: Your endurance will grow. Your heart health will improve. Your metabolism will function better. Studies show these health benefits occur largely because your body learns to use oxygen more efficiently.
So give these fast and furious bursts a try. Be careful, though; unless you’re used to exertion, make sure to check with your doc before you jump in. You might find that pushing yourself to the max for a minute – or four or seven or more – certainly has its benefits. And then before you know it, you’re done.