4/08/2006

Interval training: Can it boost your calorie-burning power?

Do you wish you could burn more calories without spending more time at the gym? Consider aerobic interval training.
Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.

You'll burn more calories.
You'll improve your aerobic capacity.
You'll keep boredom at bay.
You don't need special equipment.

After warming up, you might increase the intensity for 30 seconds and then resume your normal pace. The next burst of more intense activity may last two to three minutes. "The intervals can vary throughout your workout," says Tom Allison, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.. "How much you pick up the pace, how often and for how long is up to you." A personal trainer or other expert can help you time the intensity and duration of your intervals based on your target heart rate, the ability of your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to your muscles (peak oxygen intake) and other factors.

Interval training isn't appropriate for everyone. If you have a chronic health condition or haven't been exercising regularly, consult your doctor before trying any type of interval training. Also keep the risk of overuse injury in mind. If you rush into a strenuous workout before your body is ready, you may hurt your muscles, tendons or bones. Instead, start slowly. Try just one or two higher intensity intervals during each workout at first. If you think you're overdoing it, slow down. For more information click here to read the whole story at the Mayo Clinic website.