(NaturalNews) Interval training involves alternating short, quick bursts of intense exercise with slower activities. This type of training uses the anaerobic system of the body during the high intensity effort and the aerobic system during the lower intensity intervals. This unique brand of exercise activates the metabolic systems in the body and improves athletic performance as well as overall health.
The anaerobic activity in interval training uses energy that is already stored in the muscles, working without oxygen and producing lactic acid. The aerobic activity uses oxygen to break down the lactic acid and to convert stored carbohydrates into the energy needed to perform the activity. This sets the body to run in high efficiency mode.
Interval training boosts athletic performance because it builds new capillaries in the body. That makes it easier for the body to take in oxygen and deliver it to the muscles. Those muscles thereby develop a higher tolerance to the lactic acid. The heart muscle grows stronger during this process and the end result is improved performance by the cardiovascular system.
Because interval training is repetitive, the body creates an adaptation response that helps it to avoid injuries. Athletes can therefore increase the intensity of their workouts without fear of overtraining because the body is accustomed to the activities. Another benefit of interval training is that more calories are burned during the high intensity portion of the workout. Because the metabolism is raised, the body will begin to burn fat.
Interval training also lowers an athlete`s resting heart rate, allowing him or her to perform any activity in a more relaxed state. The cardiovascular system learns to recover faster, too, which allows athletes to push themselves ever harder. This type of exercise lowers body fat and increases lean muscle. Finally, interval training increases the body`s oxygen consumption for up to forty-eight hours after the workout, and that means that calories continue to burn.
Even non-professional athletes can take advantage of interval training to improve their levels of fitness, and it is easy to get started on a routine. One simple workout is sprinting, with a thirty second work interval followed by a sixty second rest interval. Using a timer, the participant will sprint all out for thirty seconds and then jog or walk for sixty seconds, repeating the routine four or five times. This is great cardiovascular interval training that will greatly contribute to heart health as well as athletic performance.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...