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Why Interval Training is So Effective at Promoting Weight Loss and Preventing Cardiovascular Disease


Interval training is a type of workout that alternates short bursts of high intensity, anaerobic exercises or movements, followed by periods of lower intensity workouts, or ‘resting’ periods. The shorter bursts of more challenging activity are usually around 30 seconds, while the longer periods of lower intensity activity are around 1-2 minutes. 

Interval Training can be a great option for people with a busy schedule, since workouts usually tend to run on the shorter side, from 20-30 minutes versus a regular 45 minute or hour long group fitness class. It’s also an effective way to burn calories quicker than many other types of exercise, and most types of interval training require little to no fitness equipment. Interval training can be a great way to improve aerobic capacity, and can be extremely beneficial to people who are overweight, older, or not participating in an active lifestyle. While it can be challenging for some groups depending on limitations such as joint complications or pregnancy, interval training can be modified at a pace that is comfortable to the participant by starting out with just one or two intervals at first and can be built upon with time.



Why Interval Training Is So Effective For Burning Calories and Promoting Weight Loss

The vigorous activity required in most Interval Training Workouts, for even just a few moments, can lead to a higher calorie burn in a shorter time span. According to Men’s Health, a Bootcamp class can burn an average of 7.8 calories every 10 minutes, and while this may seem less than some cardio workouts such as a Spin class, the incorporation of strength training will lead to more calorie burning in the long run. VeryWellFit also notes the effectiveness of a HIIT Class for burning fat was greater when compared to longer, aerobic workouts with a steady intensity and that it also improved Basal Metabolic Rate, which is responsible for burning calories for everyday functions such as digestion, breathing in and out, and circulating blood throughout your body.

In one particular study highlighted by Healthline, participants were measured on calories burned from 30 minutes of HIIT, compared to groups who participated in weight training, running and biking. The results concluded that when activity from a HIIT workout was performed in repetition of 20 seconds of maximal effort by 40 seconds of rest, participants burned 25 -30% more calories than groups part of the other forms of exercise. This means the HIIT group burned more calories in ⅓ of the time as the other groups. 


The Correlation between High Intensity Interval Training and Fighting Diabetes

Interval exercise has been shown to be specifically effective in maintaining glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, while also improving body composition, insulin sensitivity, aerobic capacity, and oxidative stress when compared to consistent-intensity exercises.

In another crossover study where trial subjects receive a series of randomized treatments at a different order, high intensity interval training was shown to reduce abdominal fat mass more effectively than moderate level continuous training (without intervals) in postmenopausal women with Type 2 Diabetes. Abdominal fat typically can be a challenging area to lose weight due to the nature of being a visceral fat, which surrounds vital organs, making it harder to target in comparison to subcutaneous fat which is directly under the skin in areas such as the thighs. While some visceral fat is necessary to insulate the body, excess visceral fat can lead to serious health issues such as diabetes, heart attack or stroke, Type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.


Additional Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training was shown to significantly increase VO2max (The maximum oxygen consumption a person can intake during exercise) compared with longer and steadier exercises where lactate begins to accumulate in the body. When you accumulate too much lactate in the blood, your muscles have less ability to contract and you are forced to slow down, while a higher lactate threshold can help boost performance at a higher pace. 

Improved Cardiovascular health was also shown to be connected to HIIT when it comes to resting blood pressure and heart rate, specifically due to the deliberate nature of taking your body in and out of an anaerobic state. The strength-training aspect of interval training classes also helps build stronger muscles and endurance, allowing you to move easier and more efficiently while helping reduce risk of injury. 



One More Reason to Incorporate HIIT Into Your Weekly Routine

According to Harvard Health, strength-training is adding strength-training to your workout is essential for retaining muscle mass, which decreases by a rate of 3-5% each decade as we age, and is much harder to regain once over the age of 60, reducing your ability for muscle strength as you get older. By nature, most types of interval training incorporate strength training through body-weight and/or fitness props like dumbbells or kettlebells. The CDC’s current guidelines for fitness is at 150 minutes of moderate to high-intense aerobic exercise or cardio a week, balanced with “two days” of strength training.


Types of High Intensity Interval Training Workouts You Can Try Today

We hope this information has helped prompt the discovery of value for interval training and all its wonderful benefits. If you’re looking to see how you can start interval training workouts today, three common types of group fitness classes that incorporate interval training are Bootcamp, HIIT, and Circuit Training. You can learn more about each of these exercises at our post, 10 Popular Group Fitness Classes and What to Expect If You Go To One. Through our lifestyle and wellness amenities at residential and commercial properties nationwide, we offer virtual Bootcamp class as part of all our virtual amenity packages. To learn more about the packages we offer, visit our Services page and contact us today!

Catherine Rotman