1144 GMT February 22, 2020
We exercise to get healthy, maintain good health, minimize morbidity (sickness and disease), as well as to add length to our life (longevity), jamaicaobserver.com wrote.
However, some of us also exercise with the aim of losing weight. While we will lose weight as long as we burn more calories than we consume, research has recently found that interval training may result in greater loss of weight than doing continuous exercise.
In this type of exercise, individuals alternate between different rates of speed or different degrees of effort. Also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), one may combine periods of intense workout with periods of lower-level activity.
So if you normally do a brisk walk as exercise in the morning, you may want to do five minutes of brisk walking, alternating with two or three minutes of jogging or running.
If you cycle or swim, the pattern would be the same: Start with your usual pace, then increase it dramatically for a few minutes, then return to normal pace for a short while, and then alternating between both periodically.
The great thing about adding interval training to your workout routine is that, in addition to the greater weight loss, it helps you build both strength and endurance very quickly. Further, it may be easier for the elderly and for obese individuals to perform.
The researchers informed that interval training appears to promote many physiological changes that might favor long-term weight loss, including the up-regulation of important enzymes associated with fat breakdown. This occurs to a greater extent than with moderate-intensity continuous exercise.
The research team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis (quantitative statistical analysis of several studies) of all such research, and compared weight loss with interval training and with moderate-intensive continuous training.
After pooling the results from more than 1,000 individuals, they found both interval training as well as moderate-intensive continuous training led to significant reductions in both total body fat percentage and total absolute fat mass.
However, interval training was associated with a reduction in total absolute fat mass, which was more than 28 percent greater than that seen with moderate-intensive training. Further, the greatest reductions were seen in sprint interval training.
Balancing risks and benefits
Individuals, however, should be aware of the possible risks of higher-intensity training. This training may increase the risk of injury when at the high-intensity level, as well as impose a higher level of cardiovascular stress.
Also, the potential discomfort associated with high-intensity training could affect individuals sticking with the program.
Nevertheless, interval training may be the better choice for obese and older people. For obese people, virtually every activity involves high intensity for them due to their low level of fitness and because they have to carry about a heavier load.
For older individuals, they may have difficulty sustaining exercise for longer periods, and so interval training offers a good alternative.
High, intensive interval training has also been shown to make comparable improvements in the sensitivity of insulin within the body and the reduction of blood pressure when compared to moderate-intensity continuous exercise — with comparable levels of enjoyment and adherence, and lower perceived exertion.
Further, research has found that interval training increases a person's functional capacity, as well as parameters for health, more than does moderate-intensive continuous exercise.
In addition, the advantage of interval training is that it can be performed by almost everyone, with the reality that the 'intensity' is calculated individually.
For a healthy, young person, a sprint probably involves running at a fast pace, while for a frail, elderly person, slow walking might be enough. Individuals who have knee problems and are unable to run, may cycle or swim. If a person has heart disease, they may walk at a controlled intensity.
While most international guidelines recommend high exercise volumes for obesity management, including 150–250 minutes of exercise each week with up to 60 minutes per day of moderate-intensive exercise, few people meet these guidelines. Interval training has some benefits similar to moderate-intensive continuous exercise while requiring less time.
The research also found that among individuals who underwent interval training, factors that were associated with a reduction in the total absolute fat mass were supervised training, walking exercise, running or jogging, people whose age was younger than 30 years, and the exercise intervention lasting fewer than 12 weeks.
We all should therefore seek to do some form of high-intensive interval training, irrespective of our age, as we seek to achieve good health and add length and high quality to our lives!