Which Workout Is Best: Interval Training or Moderately Intense Cardio?

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Are you aware of the heart health, brain fitness, and fat-burning benefits of interval training? The mainstream media is just finally catching on, so maybe you’ve heard the buzz.

In a recent study performed at Canada’s McMaster University, subjects did three interval training workouts per week, featuring interval sprints. The sprints were not easy, done at the hardest pace the subjects could manage for 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, another group did moderate cardio five days per week.

What the researchers found was that the short-burst interval training workouts were just as heart-healthy as the moderate-intensity cardio workouts.

Does this surprise you?

benefits of interval training

What Are the Benefits of Interval Training?

The intensity of interval exercise can help prevent the early onset of cardiovascular disease by reducing the stiffness of blood vessels. And now this study suggests that shorter workouts are just as good as long cardio workouts.

So, yes, if you’re not a fan of long cardio workouts they can be replaced with short-burst training. But before you get started, remember that it is important to train safely when doing intervals.

The subjects in the McMaster study did the intervals on stationary bikes, which meant
they had less risk of impact injury and muscle strains compared to sprinting.

I also want to point out that they trained “all out” for 30 seconds. I do not recommend this 30 second burst if you are sedentary, de-conditioned, injured, or if you have not
exercised in years.

Pro tip: Here are the BEST ways to exercise for brain fitness!

Final Thoughts

If you are a beginner to interval training but are exercising now, start by increasing the intensity of your workouts for 30 seconds and then reducing the intensity for two minutes.

Continue to build up the 30-second “sprint” intensity over several workouts, until you are at a hard, but not “all out” pace. You will still get a lot of the benefits without the risk of injury.

If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.

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For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.

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