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Benefits of Interval Training Showcased in New Study

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, indicates that combining alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery during workout regimens at least once a week is beneficial.

While interval training – which is essentially what this technique is – has been around for years, the new study confirms that cardiovascular fitness and the body’s capabilities to burn fat can both be enhanced through this method of training.

Researchers conducted the study on participants that were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of eight college-age men and women that were asked to sprint for 30 seconds, and then either stop entirely or pedal slowly for four minutes. After performing this interval training, 75 percent of them doubled their endurance in just two weeks.

The control group performed no interval training and also showed no improvement in endurance. What made the marked improvement in the interval training group even more startling was the fact that the volunteers were already fairly fit.

According to another study, the body’s ability to burn fat also becomes enhanced through interval training. This study, consisting of eight women in their early 20s that were instructed to cycle for 10 sets of four minutes of hard riding and then rest for two minutes. In just two weeks, a 36 percent increase in the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling was evident as well as a 13 percent improvement in cardiovascular fitness.

Frank Mangano’s commentary:

The benefits of interval training are nothing new. While I advocate exercise in general at least 3 times a week to achieve optimal health, this specific technique is great for those trying to improve their cardiovascular health and perhaps even lose some weight in the process.

A mistake that people often make when beginning a new exercise program is that they either do too little or they over do it. This is where interval training comes in folks.

Three important tips to remember while engaging in this type of training are to warm up prior to starting the intervals, be sure to get enough rest between sessions and set realistic goals for yourself.

Improving our levels of cardiovascular fitness should be a number one priority as it reduces risk of heart failure and this evidence supports the fact that interval training can offer more protection than aerobic exercises performed over long durations.

However, don’t forget that the best type of exercise program includes cardio mixed with some strength training as well.

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