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The difference between interval and steady pace training

Sep. 13, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Many exercisers wonder what the differences are between interval training and steady pace training. Both workout styles offer valuable health benefits, but it helps to understand the effect each style has on the body, so you get the most out of your workout time. Here are some tips from Life Fitness experts:

Endurance training helps develop a stronger cardiovascular system, including the heart, lungs and blood vessels, and can add years to your life. Cardiovascular endurance also enhances your heart's ability to control the oxygen flow to all of your muscles, improving your overall workout efficiency.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of daily physical activity -- do this and you will see improved endurance, stronger muscles, better sleep and reduced stress levels.

Endurance exercises to try include running, walking, swimming, bicycling, dancing -- any sport or exercise that can be performed for longer periods of time to get the heart pumping.

For the average exerciser who is trying to lose fat, interval training is more effective than steady pace training. Swap out an endurance run for an interval workout to help burn calories faster. By breaking up your workout and adding some high intensity bursts, you'll churn through calories.

What is an interval? Interval training simply means alternating the intensity by changing your pace, resistance or movement several times during your workout.

You can create interval workouts with almost any mode of cardio activity -- create a pattern of working at a moderate pace of 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, then push your level up to a high intensity of 75 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, followed by an active recovery period to bring your heart rate back down. Keep in mind that active recovery means keeping your feet moving and breathing deeply; don't stop dead in your tracks.

For more assistance seek out the help of a certified personal trainer.