You often see gym goers slogging it out on the cardio equipment for up to an hour at a time, and there is nothing wrong with this sort of cardiovascular exercise, each to their own, and at least they are exercising! However one of the main excuses people give for not exercising is ‘’lack of time’; if they don’t have an hour or so spare then they feel there is not enough time. Wrong! Research is now showing that short periods of exercise but at a higher intensity is just as beneficial.
A study in the USA based on a group of men compared their fitness levels at the start and then after a two week programme consisting only of short, medium to high intensity exercise sessions. After the programme they found the men had improved exercise performance and metabolism in their muscles.
Here are a few more reason you should try it:
- Done in half the time. Short intense workouts save you time, you can be done in half the time, freeing up your schedule for other things. So no more excuses about being too busy and not having enough time!
- Keeps your interest. Workouts that take up an hour or more can get a bit tedious for those less motivated. Mix it up and keep it interesting. Intersperse your weight training routine with bursts of cardio or swap the long slow jog on the treadmill for a half hour interval session instead. Remember variety is the spice of life!
- Greater gains. Working out at a higher intensity can give you greater gains than if you complete a low and slow intensity session over an hour or more. The longer you exercise for the more tired you get and this may jeopardise your technique, poor technique can not only cause injury but will not get the best results. Working out more intensely but for a shorter period tends to build lean muscle this will increase your metabolic rate which means you are burning more calories.
- Improved stability and longevity. As we get older we lose the capacity to produce power quickly and remain stable, which can sometimes lead to the falls we see in the elderly. Performing short, intense workouts trains this area, promoting longevity and stability.
There are many benefits to the short, intense workouts, though they can be challenging for those not in shape or not exercising regularly. The key is to slowly build up the intensity as you get stronger and your endurance improves.