Working out for 20 minutes a day using interval exercise may provide many of the same benefits of much longer workouts done in conventional “long-duration” style.
Many experts “recommend that children and teenagers exercise one hour every day and adults get a weekly minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity."
"This could be activities such as brisk walking, dancing, gardening) or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity (jogging, aerobic dancing and jumping rope,” CNN reported.
However, a new study in the Journal of Physiology found that about 20 minutes of high-interval training provided the same benefits of longer exercise sessions that focused on endurance training.
As CNN reported, “The study suggested that quick, high-interval training may represent an alternative to endurance training to improve metabolic health and reduce the risk for chronic diseases.”
CNN March 30, 2010
The Journal of Physiology March 15, 2010, 588, 1011-1022
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
One of the biggest hurdles people face in maintaining an exercise program is simply finding the time to do it. This may soon become an excuse of the past, however, as the newest exercise research is showing that you can cut your workout time significantly and reap even better benefits …
By using interval training, which also goes by other terms such as anaerobic, burst or PACE training.
When you break your exercise session into short segments that alternate high intensity with a rest period in-between, known as interval training, it can dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities in a fraction of the time.
Take this latest study, in which men pedaled on a stationary bike for 20 minutes using interval training (they pedaled at the highest intensity they could for a minute, then pedaled slowly to rest for a minute, and so on for the 20-minute period).
These men received the same benefits as they would have had they exercised at a lower intensity for one hour or more, leading researchers to say interval training "may represent an alternative to endurance training to improve metabolic health and reduce the risk for chronic diseases."
Personally Helped Me Greatly (Dr. Mercola)
Adopting this strategy has made a HUGE improvement in my exercise program. Not only are the burst exercises awesome and add an entirely different aspect to my fitness program, they allow me the flexibility of being able to exercise nearly every day.
On days when I am very short on time it is almost always possible to put in a 15-minute workout. It is also short enough to allow my body to recover from the abuses I put it through on my other exercise days.
What Makes Interval Training So Effective?
I’ve been exercising for over 42 years, but for much of it I focused on running, or cardio. While this is an important form of exercise, there are others that are equally if not more important, namely strength training, developing your core muscles, stretching and interval training.
This realization was motivated by Al Sears, MD, who reawakened me to the value of interval training with his P.A.C.E. program. Here's how Dr. Sears explained it to me:
Long-duration exercise isn't natural. Our ancient ancestors never ran for mile after mile without rest or recovery. Their exercise was primarily hunting -- short bursts of exertion, followed by periods of rest.
By exercising in short bursts, followed by periods of recovery, you recreate exactly what your body needs for optimum health. Further, by progressively changing your routine over time it ensures maximum fat loss with a "bulletproof" heart and "super-sized" lungpower.
According to Dr. Sears, the big mistake with aerobics and jogging is when you burn fat. Once you pass the 15 to 20 minute mark, you start burning fat during exercise.
This may sound like a good thing, but what this tells your body is that you need fat to burn as fuel during exercise. As a result, your body will make and store more fat to prepare for your next run or aerobic workout -- a never-ending cycle making it difficult to get rid of that stubborn fat that never seems to go away.
Burn MORE Fat and Get BETTER Results
Several studies have confirmed that exercising in shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising continuously for an entire session. This has been shown to hold true even when the session is not done at an extremely high intensity.
In one such study, those who cycled for 40 minutes, alternating four-minute bursts at 90 percent effort with two minutes of rest, improved their cardiovascular fitness by 13 percent, and were able to burn 36 percent more fat during a later hour-long moderate cycling session.
Another study took it even further, showing you can burn more fat exercising for 20 minutes than for 40 minutes!
In their trial, women either exercised for 20 minutes, alternating 8 seconds of sprinting on a bike with 12 seconds of exercising lightly, or exercised at a regular pace for 40 minutes. After exercising three times a week for 15 weeks, those who did the 20-minute, alternating routine lost three times as much fat as the other women.
The researchers believe this type of exercise works because it produces a unique metabolic response. Intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin and within your muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation is thought to drive the increased weight loss.
Again, one of the best parts of interval training is that it cuts down on the amount of time you need to exercise, which is great if you don’t have time for hour-long cardio workouts.
Interval Training is Only Part of a Balanced Exercise Routine
Here is an example of how to do interval training
That is great for general health and fitness, but this is the Super Solider Program designed to make you better at kicking ass
Activity specific interval training
The core concept:
Alternate short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods.
“By exercising in short bursts, followed by periods of recovery, you recreate exactly what your body needs for optimum health. Further, by progressively changing your routine over time it ensures maximum fat loss with a "bulletproof" heart and "super-sized" lungpower.”
Our ancestors didn’t ride stationary bikes either. But these concepts can be applied to martial arts training.
First, take the basic, fundamental motions of your art, then discover how to do them explosively.
Here is an example from what Keishoukan Budo
Irimi – entering
Hiraki – opening
Tenkan – circular
Yoko Sabaki – lateral
Shomen Uchi (Shomen Irimi) – direct entering
Gyaku Kesa – low to high, entering and opening
Pretty much everything I teach can be broken down into these motions. So it is in my best interest to be really good at doing these motions. Much more important than being good at stationary biking.
Here is how I practice them explosively. You can do this with less equipment and by yourself, but this is what has worked for me.
Find an open field (soccer, football, empty lot etc…) and set it up like this
You will need 4 markers (like a traffic cone or something) 2 plyo bands, 3 medicine / weighted balls, a partner / coach
On the coaches command sprint from the starting point to the first medicine ball. Pick up the ball and throw it as hard as you can (right handed) using one of the basic motions. Your coach / partner will set ball on opposite sprint line.
Sprint from the first medicine ball, to the next one. Pick up the ball and throw it as hard as you can (left handed) using the same basic motion. Your coach / partner will set ball on opposite sprint line.
Sprint from the second medicine ball, to the next one. Pick up the ball and throw it as hard as you can (right handed) using the same basic motion. Your coach / partner will set ball on opposite sprint line.
Up until now this has been very push motion heavy. At this station wrap a plyo band around your partner / coach and practice a pulling motion.
Walk to the next station. Then repeat going back the opposite way. After the second pulling station rest a good 1-2 minutes or change roles and you coach while your partner trains. Repeat for each of the basic motions of your art (I suggest around 6). This training is very intense but also very fun and goes by fast.
Train hard, train smart, be safe.