It might sound complicated, but interval training, also known as HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, simply means alternating bursts of high intensity exercise with intervals of moderate or light activity. For example, if you’re walking you could incorporate a few short jogging intervals throughout your walk. Or on an exercise bike you can alternate peddling at a slow to moderate pace with short periods of peddling as fast as you can.   

Interval training has become more popular and there are some good reasons why.

  • You’ll burn more energy – high intensity exercise burns more kilojoules so even if you only increase the effort for a few minutes at a time, this still adds up.
  • It improves your fitness – by starting off with just a few short bursts of higher intensity exercise you can gradually improve your exercise capacity, and with time make these intervals longer and more frequent.
  • It beats boredom – interval training adds variety to your workout and can make the time go faster than just moving at a steady pace.  You can vary the length and intensity of each interval to suit your mood at the time.
  • It’s more time efficient – you achieve more in less time, great if you struggle to fit exercise into a busy week.
  • You can do it anywhere – whether you walk, run, swim or dance, you can incorporate interval training into your workouts without the need for any special equipment.

While interval training can be safe for most people (as long as it’s tailored to your current fitness level) if you haven’t been exercising regularly or have a chronic health condition, speak to your doctor first.  You could also see an exercise physiologist who can develop a program suited to your needs and goals and show you how to incorporate interval training safely.

For more information: Find an accredited exercise physiologist at www.essa.org.au/find-aep