Interval Training is basically a form of physical exercise, which includes periods of low to high intensity exercise followed by a period of rest/active recovery. This type of training can be used for any activity including running, cycling, swimming, rowing. HIIT is an enhanced form of interval training, which stand>s for High Intensity Interval Training, and> is based on the same principles but at a higher intensity.
Interval training uses our bodies 2 energy producing systems the aerobic and> the anaerobic. The aerobic system uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy, the anaerobic system draws energy from carbohydrates stored in the muscles for short bursts of activity such as sprinting. By using both these systems interval training can massively improve cardiovascular fitness, and> our ability to exercise for longer at different intensities. So it is good for cardiovascular fitness and> improving heart rate but what about fat loss – well it can help improve this to. When working out at higher intensities you will burn more overall calories than at lower intensities, so the “Fat Burning Zone” although true is a bit of a myth. You will burn more calories from fat doing steady cardio but as mentioned at higher intensities you burn more calories overall thus burning more calories from fat overall. Hope this makes sense, don’t want to get too “sciencey” with it all. There is also an added bonus with interval training known as “Excess Post Exercise oxygen consumption” basically meaning you increase your metabolism and> carry on burning calories hours after you stop exercising with interval training (this can be up to 24 hours after). Sounds good hey?
Interval Training can also be really time efficient, as you can burn more calories in a shorter space of time, perfect for squeezing into a busy schedule, and> it means you don’t have to slog away on a treadmill for hours! It can also be a lot more challenging as you are working at higher intensities – it is not to be done whilst chatting with friends – it really takes dedication.
There are different types of interval training, from Tabata which focuses on a 4 minute burst of exercise, with 20 seconds high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds rest repeated 8 times, or Fartlek training that was developed in Sweden and> means speed play, which is an unstructured method to intervals, where you increase the intensity for an unspecified period of time and> rest/repeat.
I would recommend trying to fit some interval training into your routine, start with a basic 2:1 work to rest ratio and> see how you get on, it may be worth speaking to a local trainer to get some assistance with intervals and> as it is quite high intensity consult your doctor before embarking on a new training plan.