Interval training is alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. For example, if you walk for exercise and you’re in fairly good shape, you might incorporate 30 seconds of jogging with 1-3 minutes of walking, and continually repeat. If you haven’t worked up to jogging yet, you might alternate a moderate walking pace with 30-60 seconds of faster power-walking.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced, interval training has a variety of benefits:
- You’ll burn more calories. The more intensely you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn, even if you’re increasing the intensity just a few minutes at a time.
- You’ll burn more fat long after your workout is done. Simply put, your body isn’t able to bring in enough oxygen during periods of hard work. Therefore, you accumulate a debt of oxygen that must be repaid after your workout in order to get back to normal. This results in your metabolism being revved for hours after you’re done exercising.
- You’ll improve your health and performance. By integrating bouts of intense exercise, you’ll condition your heart to work more efficiently so that you can do more with less effort.
- You’ll prevent boredom. Increasing the intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
- You can overcome plateaus. If you continually do the same routine over and over, your body will get used to this and become less responsive to improvement. Adding short moderate to intense intervals can “shock” your body into new levels of progress.
- You don’t need special equipment. All you need is to increase the intensity of your favourite routine for 30-60 seconds at a time.
There are no hard and fast rules with interval training. If you simply want to vary your exercise routine, you can determine the length and speed of each high-intensity interval based on how you feel that day.
You might increase the intensity for 30 seconds for the first interval and then resume your normal pace. The next interval might only last 20 seconds, but at an even higher intensity. How intense you go, how long the interval lasts, and how often you alternate intervals is totally up to you.
I hope this helps; please let me know if you have questions below.