Interval training may result in greater weight loss than continuous exercise, with sprint interval training (SIT) the most effective, say researchers, who say interval training also may be easier for obese and older individuals to perform.
The findings of Ricardo Borges Viana, MSc, a PhD student in the Faculty of Physical Education and Dance, Federal University of Goiás, Brazil, and colleagues were published online February 14 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Senior author Paulo Gentil, PhD, of the same institution, told Medscape Medical News that interval training "seems to promote many physiological changes that might favor long-term weight loss.
The team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis and compared weight loss with interval training, including both high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and SIT with moderate-intensity continuous training (MOD).
After pooling results from over 1000 individuals, they found both interval training and MOD led to significant reductions in both total body fat percentage and total absolute fat mass.
However, interval training was associated with a reduction in total absolute fat mass that was more than 28% greater than that seen with MOD, with the greatest reductions seen with SIT.
Despite the positive results, the team cautions that "it is important to be aware of the possible risks and caveats associated with higher-intensity training."
For example, they warn that "it might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress," and the potential discomfort associated with high-intensity training could affect adherence. They also highlight that the "methodological diversity" between protocols used in the studies "makes it difficult to generally recommend that one particular protocol is 'best' for modulating body adiposity."
The authors note that most guidelines for obesity management recommend high exercise volumes, at 150 to 250 minutes/week and up to 60 minutes/day of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. However, they point out that "few people meet these guidelines." They suggest that interval training may help weight loss, "as it has some benefits similar to MOD, while requiring less time."
The article goes on to state that for older people high intensity might mean walking, swimming, riding a bike rather than sprinting.
I have always used interval training when swimming. Let’s face it, swimming is boring, more so than running as you can’t watch the landscape. However, swimming intervals of 100 meters with 20-30 seconds of rest between each one makes it a little game. Can I do 10? Can I make each one a little faster? I also like a pyramid – start with a series of short swims – 100 meters, then a couple of 200’s, then a 400 and then back down again. The mileage adds up but you start and end with easy swims.
You can adapt interval training to almost any activity. If you use walking, stop or slow every few minutes. If you are a runner, incorporate some sprints to your run or follow the “Gallaway Method” – run a mile and walk a minute. Bike riding is a natural – you vary your speed and often stop at intersections.
Interval training is more effective, more fun, and easier to perform than other exercise programs. It’s a great way to start a new activity. Please incorporate some interval training into your lifestyle.
Source: February 20, 2019 NIH