If you have never heard of interval training before, it is one of the most intense forms of exercise that you could ever engage in. If you haven’t tried it before, you will probably want to after you have read this and discovered the numerous benefits of interval training that you can reap. To be exact, we have 13 benefits of interval training that we want to tell you about, benefits that you won’t want to pass up!
What Is Interval Training?
Interval training is a form of exercise in which you alternate between 2 or more different exercises. This consists of doing an exercise at a very high level intensity for short bursts, followed by a very short resting exercise, or one which doesn’t require quite as much energy, which is also why it is also sometimes referred to as high intensity interval training (HIIT). For example, this could mean that you run at full pace on a treadmill for 2 minutes followed by 30 seconds of light jogging, which you then repeat over and over. It is a great way to exercise and it comes with a great number of benefits.
Benefit #1: Burning More Calories
Some high intensity interval training is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. It is shown that high intensity interval training burns more calories than most other forms of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. The high intensity nature of each interval ensures that you burn far more calories per every interval than something like running or cycling.
Even with the short rest intervals, this type of exercise is far more energy intensive than virtually anything else out there. Moreover, high intensity interval training is so taxing on the body that you will continue to burn calories for roughly 2 hours even after you have stopped exercising, thus making it much more efficient than other aerobic exercises.
EPOC stands for exercise post-oxygen consumption and it is the increased level of oxygen intake that your body goes through after exercise in order to even out the body’s oxygen deficit. After high intensity interval training, the number of calories burned during exercise post-oxygen consumption is very high, higher than with forms of continuous exercise.
Benefit #2: High Efficiency
Another great thing about interval training is that it is extremely time efficient. It doesn’t take very much time to get into shape when you practice high intensity interval training. It is shown that just 15 minutes of high intensity intervals have a bigger effect than 1 whole hour of jogging on a treadmill; now that is impressive.
Therefore, if you are a busy person that works all day, but still wants to stay in shape, interval training is a great way to save time and still stay healthy. Moreover, just 10 minutes of this type of exercise has the ability to burn more calories than 30 minutes on a treadmill.
Benefit #3: A Great Tradeoff
The next amazing thing about high intensity interval training is that it allows you to keep muscle mass, or even build muscle, while also burning calories and losing weight. This is very important because this is not true for most other types of exercise.
For example, cardio like running or cycling will burn many calories, but it won’t build much muscle. On the other hand, weight training will help you build bigger and stronger muscles, but it won’t burn many calories and won’t get rid of that belly fat.
Interval training, due to its high intensity and the nature of the exercises lets you do both of those things at once. It’s really the best of both worlds brought together into 1 short exercise routine.
Benefit #4: Anti-Aging Properties
Exercise, especially high intensity interval training, is awesome because it keeps you younger for longer. It is shown that there is a direct causal link between exercise and your life expectancy and the more you exercise, the longer you will live for. Since high intensity interval training is very efficient, it is a great way to keep you alive for quite a while. High intensity interval training helps to boost your body’s production of HGH or human growth hormone. HGH helps to repair damaged cells in your body, thus keeping you alive for longer, and exercise such as this can boost its production by close to 800 percent.
Forms of high intensity exercise like interval training also force your body to activate telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme produced in the human body that slows down the aging process. The more you exercise, or the more intense the exercise is, the more of this enzyme your body produces, thus slowing down the aging process drastically.
Interestingly enough, high intensity workouts also stimulate your body to reduce p53 expression. p53 mutation contributes to the growth of tumors and cancer cells. Therefore, less p53 mutation means that you have a lower chance of developing cancer, and thus your life expectancy becomes even longer.
Benefit #5: Improved Oxygen Efficiency
Interval training is also really beneficial for your body because it helps to increase the rate at which your muscles can pull oxygen out of the blood. Of course, your muscles need oxygen, as much as possible, in order to function properly, especially during exercise.
This ability for muscles to consume oxygen is also known as oxidative capacity. The unit used to measure the oxidative capacity is known as VO2 Max. Interestingly enough, this has nothing to do with how efficiently your lungs can process oxygen, and in fact your lungs can be working at full capacity, but if your oxidative capacity is not high, it will not make a difference.
It is shown that interval training can help increase the rate at which your muscles can pull oxygen out of your blood by as much as 100 percent.
Benefit #6: Increased Metabolism & Decreased Hunger
High intensity interval training is amazing for losing weight. For one thing, intense exercise such as this will definitely boost your metabolism. A higher metabolic rate means that you will burn more calories, even after exercising, than if you had not engaged in interval training.
This means that fewer of the calories that you eat will be stored on your body as fat and therefore interval training will help you lose weight and keep it off. On a side note, interval training can also lower a person’s sensitivity to insulin because the body can process glucose better, thus being very good for people with diabetes.
Moreover, interval training is shown to suppress a hormone known as ghrelin, a hormone which causes you to feel hungry. Having less of an appetite translates into you eating less food, therefore minimizing your calorie intake and helping you to keep those love handles at bay.
Benefit #7: It Is Fun
Something great about interval training, especially the high intensity kind, is that it will keep you occupied and free of boredom. We all know that exercising for prolonged periods of time can be tedious and boring, something that stops many people from exercising altogether.
Interval training lets you bring some variety into your exercise routine because the intervals can consist of whatever high intensity exercises that you want. Variety and change is a big key in keeping boredom at bay and keeping your motivation high.
Moreover, since interval training does not take very long to do, there is less chance of getting bored during the routine. Simply put, it takes less mental effort to exercise for 15 minutes per day than it does to exercise for a whole hour.
Benefit #8: A Full Body Exercise With Different Types Of Training
You will really like high intensity interval training because it combines multiple forms of exercise and it helps to target your whole body as well. You can construct your high intensity routine anyway that you want.
You can add some intense weight training, some high paced cardiovascular activity, some isometric exercises, and some stretching too. You can literally do any type of exercise that you want during your interval training. Therefore you can train your muscles to be bigger and your lungs and heart to be more efficient, all with one simple yet intense routine.
Moreover, interval training is great because you can construct your routine to target every single muscle in your body. Of course, this means having to add exercises that target your core, arms, back, legs, shoulders, and all other muscle groups, but that isn’t too hard to do. We suggest adding at least 2 exercises which target a specific muscle group to your routine.
Benefit #9: It’s Easier To Stick With
Something else about high intensity interval training that is very impressive is that people are shown to stick to it for longer than any type of continuous exercise. People are shown to enjoy interval training much more than continuous exercise.
This is due to the fact that it has a lot of variety, that it can be customized to your needs, and most of all, that it doesn’t take very much time out of your daily life. Over 50 percent of participants in a study reported that they would much rather engage in short bursts of high intensity interval training than continuous exercise like running or cycling.
Benefit #10: Higher Endurance & Physical Performance
High intensity interval training is great because it has the ability to greatly increase your endurance and it will increase your overall ability to perform physical tasks. A scientific study proved that interval training is more effective at increasing your endurance and peak physical performance than continuous exercise, and it does so over a much shorter period of time.
Interval training decreases blood pressure and also increases the levels of mitochondria in your blood and that helps fuel both your muscles and your brain. This increased endurance will translate into your daily life and help you perform better when you play sports or engage in other forms of exercise.
Benefit #11: Heart Health
One of the best parts about high intensity interval training is that it is amazing for the health of your heart and your arteries. Interval training is amazing as a form of cardiovascular exercise because it gets your heart pumping at a whole new level.
This, of course, strengthens your heart, makes it more efficient, and makes it pump blood around your body with greater ease. This has the effect of lowering blood pressure, decreasing heart disease, and reducing the occurrence of things like heart attacks.
Moreover, interval training is great for your arteries too. The high intensity nature of this type of exercise puts pressure on your arteries, thus actually giving them a good workout. Your blood vessels and arteries will be much stronger thanks to interval training. It is even shown that people with coronary artery disease can tolerate interval training better than normal continuous exercise.
Benefit #12: Increased Aerobic Capacity
Another great part about interval training is that it helps to increase your aerobic capacity. Your aerobic capacity refers to the amount of aerobic exercise you can do in a given amount of time, how long you can do it for, and how much oxygen your lungs can consume in order to keep exercising.
Aerobic capacity also refers to the amount of oxygen that your muscles can consume in order to keep working. High intensity interval training is a great way to increase your aerobic capacity. This, of course, will translate into your everyday life and improve physical performance in sports and other aspects of life too.
Benefit #13: No Need For Specialized Equipment
We really like interval training because you don’t need any special equipment to do it. Sure, you can use some equipment like resistance bands, jump ropes, or dumbbells in your interval training routine, but it isn’t necessary.
You can include running on the spot, pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and all other kinds of bodyweight training in your routine, all of which don’t require equipment. This makes interval training very versatile, not to mention that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on workout equipment that you might never use anyway.
If you still don’t believe us about the various benefits of interval training, maybe you should give it a try for yourself because nothing is as convincing as experience. You will keep your heart healthy, keep the weight off of your body, your metabolism will increase, and so much more. Interval training is truly one of the best forms of exercise, so much so that it will even keep you alive for a very long time!