Interval training is maximum cardiovascular exercise. All cardio benefits are ramped-up by doing interval training once a week. The benefits are huge — your heart rate slows, you use oxygen more efficiently, you get faster — quickly, and you feel great from all those endorphins running around in your bloodstream.
Here are the Top Ten Benefits.
1. You feel amazing for the rest of the day. With interval training, endorphin production is ramped to the max. These naturally occurring opiates are produced in your brain in response to strenuous exercise. Interval training — due to its short bursts of intense activity — really get the endorphins flowing, and you feel fantastic.
2. Your resting pulse drops like a stone. When I'm doing consistent interval training, my resting pulse is 46 to 48. Resting pulse is a good measure of stroke volume — the amount of blood your heart pumps on each beat. The more blood pumped per beat the LESS your heart needs to beat each minute.
Cardiovascular exercise — over time — increments your stroke volume. Interval training is maximum cardiovascular exercise — and leads very quickly to increased stroke volume. Your heart rapidly increases its efficiency with consistent interval training. Your total lifetime fitness levels increase accordingly.
3. You save wear and tear on your heart. Because interval training increases your heart's stroke volume, your heart beats less during the course of the day to provide the amount of blood you need flowing to your tissues. Less heart beats means less wear and tear. The hypothetical extrapolation is that your heart will last longer because you're doing intense spy exercise. Pretty remarkable.
4. You get faster — which is why you're doing interval training in the first place. Faster usually means funner — and you find yourself motoring along during your regular cardio training. Your regular cardio training becomes easier, and you're having more fun while doing it.
5. Climbing hills is easier — this has all kinds of benefits. I used to run road races in Central Park in New York City. After I began interval training, I noticed that as a race went on — when we'd reached the parks' infamous stretch of hills — I'd be passing all the people who'd passed me at the beginning of the race. I'd catch and pass them all on the hills. A great feeling! I developed a deep sense of race confidence I'd never have — all due to interval training!
6. You're stronger and faster in every other form of cardiovascular activity. Having better endurance not only benefits hill climbing. Because your heart is much more efficient, swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing, and hiking all just got much easier. You can go faster, longer, and with better energy than ever before.
7. Decreased risk of high blood pressure. The evidence is in. Cardiovascular exercise has ample medical benefits, including reduced susceptibility to heart disease. Interval training, being the most intense form of cardio, offers even greater benefits over time.
8. Lowered cholesterol levels. Again, cardiovascular exercise has consistently been shown to reduce blood cholesterol. Lower cholesterol has many medical benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders.
9. Stronger immune system. Your immune system responds positively to regular strenuous exercise. Interval training — due to its intestinal qualities — yields a heightened immune response. People who exercise regularly build-up a "shield" against colds and flu, and East Coasters often go through an entire winter without "getting sick".
10. You get younger. Yes, really. The benefits of exercise are substantial and impact both physical and personal aspects of your life. You sleep better. You wake up more refreshed. You skin glows. Your digestion improvements. Overall, you're healthy and well. Your attitude throughout the day becomes consistently positive. You have more ideas. You're more creative. You're more fun to be around.
And, all this is possible because you spend 30 to 60 minutes a day, four to six times a week, investing in your well-being!