Aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise are effective in promoting weight loss while improving overall physical fitness and well being. Yet, there is debate over which exercise mode is more effective. An alternative mode of exercise, which may be considered a combination of the two, is interval training.
Interval training reduces fat mass while improving cardiovascular fitness. In fact, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the "new buzz" in exercise science, and it yields greater fat oxidation during workouts, potentially resulting in greater long-term weight loss.
HIIT is a type of aerobic training in which you alternate short, very high-intensity intervals (anaerobic) with longer, slower recovery intervals (aerobic). This type of training utilizes more lipids (fat) and less glycogen (carbohydrates) for energy during exercise. A study published in the Dec. 14, 2006, issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology indicated increased fat oxidation (fat burning) during exercise among study participants performing high-intensity interval training. Researchers found that after seven 60-minute workouts of high-intensity interval training over a two-week period, study participants' whole body fat oxidation increased by 36 percent.
However, for weight loss it's not enough to simply walk for three or four hours a week because this does not increase cardiovascular fitness and fat oxidation. Another study published in the October 2005 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology found that the equivalent of 20-miles per week of jogging resulted in weight loss, particularly around the midsection, whereas 12-miles per week of walking had no effect on stored belly fat. Furthermore, the intensity of the exercise directly affects the total amount of energy burned whether from stored fat or carbohydrates, meaning a moderate workout yields moderate levels of energy used.
Whether you run, cycle, swim or lift weights, you can incorporate interval training into your exercise program. Simply follow the basic time outline of two-minute bursts followed by one-minute recovery periods for 30 to 45 minutes three or four days each week.
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