Is Interval Training Good for You Overall?
Interval training refers to mixing up your workout routine so that you perform your exercises in sudden bursts, changing up the activities you do rather rapidly. For example, you might walk for five minutes and then run full-speed for two minutes, then walk for five minutes, then jog for ten minutes, then run again, and then perform this entire routine all over again.
There are many benefits to interval training, but many cautions to consider for a safe and effective workout. One benefit is that the body works harder when you mix up your routine since it doesn’t know what to expect next, and since the muscles cannot get comfortable and fully trained. When you perform one type of exercise over and over again, the muscles you use get trained and so they aren’t working as hard. This means you’re not burning calories as efficiently when exercising. When you walk on a treadmill or just jog and nothing else, the muscles you use get trained and very efficient at this same workout. By mixing up your routine, you’re giving your muscles a new challenge.
Using interval training can also train new muscles that may not be worked properly with just one type of workout routine. Walking uses a small amount of effort and just certain muscles to propel the body forward. Jogging uses more effort, and elliptical machines use different leg muscles since you’re moving in a circulation motion, not just moving forward. This too means burning more calories and getting stronger muscles all over.
It’s important to be cautious about interval training so that you don’t put undue stress on the body or strain your muscles too much. For example, if you don’t typically jog you may stress your lungs and your joints by using sudden bursts of running in interval training. You may also tend to overexert yourself in order to get that burst of speed you need to burn calories. This can lead to injury and increased soreness between workouts.
To use interval training properly, first be sure you warm up and stretch before every workout routine. Take five minutes to do some squats and to sit and stretch your legs. Start your exercise with something simple to get your blood flowing, such as a brisk walk. When you are ready to use bursts of increased intensity, challenge yourself but make them manageable. Many people run for several minutes during their walks, but you can push yourself just as long as possible and then return to walking.
It also helps to keep track of everything you do during interval training so you can know if you do need to exert yourself more. This will also keep you safe during your workouts while you still lose weight and get into shape.