What is interval training? Interval training is a workout that involves cardio training with periods of high intensity followed by periods of low intensity. It’s a workout that many athletes use and is now making more ground in helping middle-aged adults achieve their workouts goals. How you measure the intervals can be complicated. Some people use an effort scale (1-10) as a measure of the intensity of the workout. They will do a period where they exercise at an effort of around 7-9 followed by a period of around 3-5. Other people use their MHR (max heart rate) as a measure of their interval training. Anything above 80% of their MHR is considered an intense period and anything below 60% is considered a low intensity period. However, you measure it, interval training is a great form of exercise that is extremely underutilized. Interval training is especially underutilized in middle-aged adults. Among adults, it’s commonly thought that interval training leads to injuries and pain. For this reason, although it’s making ground, many adults still aren’t on board. This article explores “The 9 Benefits of Interval Training for Middle-Aged Adults” to help adults everywhere see what they are missing out on as well as the myth of injury surrounding this ground-breaking workout.
Aerobic Capacity Will Drop More Slowly
Aerobic capacity is a measure of how efficient your muscles respond to stress. Specifically, it measures the highest amount of oxygen consumed during the peak point of your exercise. As aging in adults occurs, aerobic capacity drops. Most middle-aged adults do a slower and more paced type of exercise as they age. They do this to avoid some discomfort that comes with intense training. What they don’t know, is that by doing this, their aerobic capacity drops significantly more than if they were to have some intense intervals in their workout. By doing interval training, you will have better muscle use as you age. Your muscles will tire less, and you will get less aches and pains.
It is commonly known that exercise increases metabolism. What isn’t commonly known, however, is that you get a metabolic boost directly after a workout. This metabolic boost will burn lots of calories in your body. The amount of metabolism boost that you get after a workout is related to the amount of oxygen consumed during the workout. You consume a lot more oxygen during high intensity interval training workouts because of the intense period of exercise. Due to this, your metabolism gets an extra boost as compared with a regular workout.
Less Risk of Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Exercising your heart and approaching your maximum heart rate is an extremely healthy way to maintain your heart. Interval training can help your heart work less when you are sedentary. By approaching the extremes of how your heart pumps, you are quite literally exercising it. After repeated interval training your heart will be able to pump more blood with less effort which leads to a decreased chance of heart disease and high blood pressure.
If you are a parent and have kids, you know just how hard it can be to workout consistently. As a mom, you are always running the kids around. Staying fit as a dad is also hard because of the demands of work. Interval training is the most efficient form of cardio training. It makes you work what you need to work in the least amount of time possible. This will give you the maximum amount of time to spend on what is most important in life.
Burn More Calories
Interval training burns more calories than regular workouts do. The intense periods burn exponentially more calories than if you were to just go at a steady pace for a whole workout. Additionally, interval training pushes your body into a period where your muscles are working without oxygen during the high intensity areas. This causes your body to sort of make an extra push to recover and get back to homeostasis which results in more burnt calories post-exercise.
Lose Fat and Not Muscle
A common complaint about cardio workouts is that you are losing muscle while you are working out. If your total calories lost is more than your intake, you will lose weight, but you will also lose muscle. This is especially the case if you don’t do weight training. By alternating states where your muscles are using oxygen to work out and states where your muscles aren’t using oxygen you will burn more fat as compared to muscle.
You Don’t Need Exercise Equipment
Interval training is a cardio workout and therefore you don’t need workout equipment. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Due to short bursts of strenuous activity, interval training gives you a surge of endorphins. It drastically increases endorphin production and you will get that runner’s high.
It’s Easy to Avoid Injury
One of the main reasons that people are opposed to interval training is due to risk of injury. People think that if they push their bodies hard they will injure themselves. Although high performance does lead to greater risk with injury, people don’t understand how to interval train safely. As you age, the main thing you need to know to avoid injury is not to overuse. Thus, it’s not the intensity of a moment that will cause injury, but it is the overall use of the muscle groups and joints over the course of a workout. Due to this, personal trainers have come up with some concepts called “Dose” and “Density”. Essentially, density is how closely spaced you are putting in “doses” of your workout. The “doses” are the high intensity intervals. Together, these concepts tell you the use that you are putting into your body. If you decrease the density, your body has more time to recover and you can end up doing more repetitions. If you decrease the dose (maybe go from a 2-minute interval to a 30 second interval) you can do the intervals in a denser manner. By alternating dose and density, you can control the intensity of your interval workout to easily avoid injury.
In conclusion, interval training has many benefits. It will help your heart to age more slowly and will give you extra energy as your muscles become more efficient at taking up oxygen. Additionally, you will burn more calories and the calories you burn will be fat calories. Beyond this, you are less likely to have heart disease and high blood pressure if you utilize interval workouts. Interval workouts also will save you a ton of time and money as you don’t need exercise equipment and you can burn more calories faster. Lastly, if you understand how to utilize these workouts, you have even less of a chance of injuring yourself as compared to a regular workout. All of these things make interval training extremely underrated for the middle-aged person.