When it comes to calorie burning during exercise, research shows that HIIT training (short, high-intensity interval workouts) burn more calories than longer, lower intensity aerobic workouts. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, not only are more calories burned in short, high intensity exercise, but cardiovascular improvements happen faster with something as simple as 30-Second Sprint Workouts than with long steady endurance exercise.
For example, a 154 pound person running at a pace of 8 mph burns 320 calories in 20 minutes. That same person, walking at 3 mph for an hour, burns 235 calories.
What Is Interval Training?
Interval training combines short, high intensity bursts of speed (from ten seconds to three minutes) with slow, recovery phases, that are repeated during one workout. Interval training can be casual and unstructured or very specific and structured.
Although such shorter, high-intensity workouts build fitness fast while burning a lot of calories, they aren't right for everyone. They're not recommended for a novice exercisers because they can contribute to injuries in individuals who aren't prepared for the physical demands of this type of workout. They are also hard to maintain and should be used sparingly. Even a highly fit athlete should vary his workout and have some long and slow days for endurance and recovery.
Finally, if you work at a high intensity, odds are you will fatigue sooner and be forced to stop after about 20 minutes. If you go slow, you will likely to be able to continue exercising for several hours.
How to Design Interval Training Workout Routines
If you're already exercising regularly and progressing in your exercise intensity, you may want to try shorter, more intense workouts to enhance your calorie burning.
However, if you're just starting an exercise program, a slow and steady progression of longer and less intense exercise is probably a better option.
The sort of exercise you chose depends upon your ultimate goal. If you are training for mountaineering or backpacking, you'd better plan some long, steady days of hiking. If you want to lose those newly acquired holiday pounds, give the high intensity workout a try.
Keep in mind that if you have specific training goals you should adhere to the principles of conditioning and follow an appropriate training program for your sport.
It is recommended that you see your doctor before starting an exercise program if you're older than age 40 and have never exercised, a smoker, overweight or have a chronic health condition.