Exercise Weight Loss Exercises Interval Training

If you’re looking to spice up your current exercise routine, interval training may be exactly what you’re looking for. High intensity workouts increase your body’s ability to burn calories, resulting in quicker weight loss. In addition, integrating an interval training workout into your routine can increase your aerobic capacity.

What is Interval Training?

Imagine running as fast as you can across the basketball court, jogging back and then running across again. These short, intense bursts of activity, coupled with activity at reduced intensity, can burn calories and increase stamina–the ability to exercise longer. Professional baseball, football and basketball players often use interval training workouts to improve their fitness.

In addition to weight loss benefits, interval training workouts can provide some much needed variety in an exercise regime. If you’re used to running on treadmills or comfortably jogging through the park, an interval training workout can be an exciting way to burn extra calories.

Designing an Interval Training Workout

So how can you design an interval training workout? If this is your first interval training workout, start with a five-minute warm up at your own pace. Next, walk for two minutes and run for two, repeating this walk/run pattern as time allows. If you’re an experienced runner or jogger, you can use this same pattern, except replace a run with a sprint–a harder, more challenging option.

If you don’t have a watch, use landmarks, city blocks or parked cars to mark your intervals. As your interval training workout progresses, experiment with increased intensity during your runs, and you may find that your aerobic capacity is improving.

How Interval Training Can Help You Lose Weight

During an interval training workout, the amount of calories you expend depends on whether you add a jog or sprint to your routine. Following is a chart that outlines how many calories a 160 lb. person can burn per minute while walking, jogging or running:

Activity Walking Jogging Running
Calories/Minute 8.7 12.4 15.1

Based on the chart above, a 160 lb. walker can lose 261 calories in 30 minutes. However, adding a jog every two minutes can increase this amount to 337 calories, resulting in a 30 percent boost in calorie loss. Since you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound a week, this extra effort may help you meet your weight loss goal sooner, rather than later.

Choosing Interval Training to Lose Weight

Since you don’t need any special equipment or club memberships to begin interval training, you can add it to your current workout right away. If you need more information, consult a certified athletic trainer who can design a program for you.

People with some medical conditions–such as cardiovascular or joint problems–should consult a primary care physician before starting interval training workouts.

Resources

Ace: Get Fit. (n.d.). Interval training. Retrieved on September 16, 2010, from http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=2551

Interval Training. (n.d.). What is interval training? Retrieved on September 16, 2010, from http://www.intervaltraining.net/what_is_interval_training.html

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in one hour. Retrieved on September 15, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/SM00109