We all have heard that performing cardiovascular exercise will improve our health. Traditional wisdom has encouraged us to spend hours walking on the treadmill, running or chugging away on the elliptical machine each week to achieve improved fitness. These exercises do benefit your heart and lungs, and if you enjoy them, you should continue to do them.
However, this type of cardiovascular exercise is not very effective at many fitness goals women have, such as:
- Fat loss
- Building strong bones, and keeping osteoporosis at bay
- Increasing functional strength, so that everyday activities become easier
- Time efficient workouts
Interval training, however, addresses each of these concerns and more.
There have been many scientific studies that have proven that high intensity interval training improves cardiovascular health as much as long sessions spent doing traditional cardio. However, unlike “cardio” intense interval training also increases the rate at which your body burns fat for several hours (even up to two days) after you complete your workout. This is referred to as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. It means that in the hours or days following your interval training workout, your body must use extra oxygen to recover and return to its pre-exercise state. The body requires extra fuel to complete this process, so extra calories are burned.
When the intervals include include resistance training exercises (such as push ups, pull ups, squats, or variations of them, among others) then your interval training will also build stronger bones, increase your functional strength and help raise your metabolism so that more calories will be burned even at rest. In addition, one of the best aspects of high intensity interval training is that it is lightning fast. A complete workout, including warm up and cool down, only takes 30 minutes. For maximum health benefits, these workouts should be performed 3 times per week.
There is a catch. Interval training exercises must be performed vigorously. Hard work is required. What that means will be different for everyone. However, it should be expected that your heart rate will be elevated, your breathing will be rapid and you will sweat (probably a lot!) But before you know it, the workout will be done. You’ll find that the work required is very worth it, when compared to your great results.
Consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. Specify that you intend to engage in interval training. All participants in Intensity Works exercise programs must sign a Waiver and Release of Liability.