There is plenty of good evidence supporting the benefits of interval training.
Helps with weight loss? Tick
Helps with improving fitness? Tick
Able to be done in small bouts and includes rest breaks? Sign me up!!
It's an exercise option which has taken the fitness industry by storm, and it certainly looks like it is here to stay. Some of you may know or remember Michael Mosley, who has developed a range of resources on his website Fast Exercise praising HIIT and explaining the range of benefits that it can create. Click here or here to read further about the benefits that have been found in the research.
So how should you start if you are brand new to this interval business?
One of the best thing about interval training is that there are options. How hard you push, how long you "go hard" for and how long your entire session lasts can all be varied dependent on your condition and fitness level. To begin with, start with short intervals of hard work (even 15-20sec is enough) which are then followed by as much recovery as you need before you feel ready to go again. In your first few sessions, maybe even try just 4-5 of these short bursts before increasing the intensity or lengthening your session.
Non weight bearing first
Another option to consider initially is what type of exercise you choose to do intervals on. Should you run? Should you do an interval-style gym class? What about boxing? My general advice is to start doing interval training in non weight bearing positions first. This means a big yes to cycling, rowing and any type of exercise done in the water. Because interval training asks your body to work harder/faster, it will be less intensive on your joints and tendons if you start your interval training in non weight bearing positions. This can all be adjusted in time, with many of my clients now doing intervals when they run, box or do their tea cups!
Plenty of recovery
This is a big one. Working hard in these interval bouts raises your heart rate and blood pressure. You will likely feel out of breath and look forward to your recovery time! When you are starting out, make sure you allow plenty of time to recover. Don't limit yourself to only resting for a short period of time before you get cracking again. This can be modified once you have built up your fitness and tolerance to this new type of training.
If you are unsure whether interval training is right for you, consult your local GP or Exercise Physiologist. The above is general advice only, and all recommendations can be further tailored to suit your needs further should you require it. Whether you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis or simply want to increase your fitness as we head into Autumn, hopefully you can find a way to introduce interval training into your exercise regime!
As always, we are here to help. Drop a comment below if you have any questions!