Interval training can help you get the most out of your workout.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Are you ready to shake up your workout? Do you wish you could burn more calories without spending more time at the gym? Consider aerobic interval training, sometimes called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Once the domain of elite athletes, interval training has become a powerful tool for the average exerciser, too.
What is interval training?
It’s not as complicated as you might think. Interval training is simply alternating short bursts (about 30 seconds) of intense activity with longer intervals (about 1 to 2 minutes) of less intense activity.
For instance, if your exercise is walking and you’re in good shape, you might add short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.
What can interval training do for me?
Should you fit HIIT into your exercise program?
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Whether you’re a novice exerciser or you’ve been exercising for years, interval training can help you make your workout routine more exciting. Consider the benefits:
You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
You’ll be more time efficient. Many people don’t exercise because they say they don’t have time. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
Interval training enables you to complete an effective workout in less time than a standard cardiovascular workout. For example, you might complete a workout in about 15 to 20 minutes or less instead of 40 minutes.