Aerobic exercise has long been recommended as key to keeping your heart healthy. However, recently a new fitness program has become popular that has shown to be even more effective in fighting cardiovascular disease, and significantly improving your overall fitness levels.
Interval training is a style of exercise that combines short bursts of high intensity training with short periods of rest, alternating between the two, otherwise known as HIIT (high intensity interval training).
It allows for a much more effective workout in less time and 15 minutes of HIIT provides more benefits than an hour of cardio.
So, how is interval training beneficial compared with regular exercise? Below are several reasons why this needs to be your new exercise regime.
- Strengthens cardiovascular system
Interval training has been proven to double the heart protecting benefits of aerobic exercise. The high intensity short bursts make the heart pump harder, helping to improve the strength of your cardiovascular system. Another benefit is the production of nitric oxide in the arterial wall, helping them to dilate and enabling a greater blood flow.
One study into the benefits of interval training compared a group of walkers walking at a moderate pace with one using brief bursts of higher intensity walking.
The research showed that the group engaging in the ‘interval walking’ had a VO2 max level increase three times higher than the group carrying out moderately paced walking (VO2 max being the maximum level of oxygen that an individual can use).
- Helps avoid type 2 diabetes
High intensity cardio workouts such as interval training also significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, a major precursor to heart disease. It does this by increasing the occurrence of mitochondria in muscle cells.