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Interval Training Burns More Calories in Less Time

Do Try This at Home -- With a Bit of Caution

Gillespie says that, like any workout, sprint interval training comes with caveats.

“Everybody’s 100% is different,” she says, so people should know their limits. “I want people to move, but I also want to prevent injury.”

She points out that interval training on a stationary bike is a low-impact exercise, which means it’s easier on the joints. People should be more cautious with higher impact exercises, like running, especially if they are overweight or obese.

Gillespie also cautions that no one should try to cram their workout into just a couple of minutes.

“You can’t sustain that high intensity for 2.5 minutes, and the rest period is just as important as the workout,” she says. “If you want, you can always check your email during those four minutes.”

When it comes to reaping the benefits of interval training, Sevits says people face some significant hurdles.

"The biggest barriers are the difficulty of this type of exercise and maintaining the commitment to do it," says Sevits.

He says that working with a personal trainer, who can encourage their clients to really push themselves, may be a way to go.

"That kind of coaching can be really motivating," he says.

Beginners, Sevits continues, should ease into interval training.

"First, build up your endurance, confidence, and comfort on whatever machine you have chosen before you start to really push yourself, then toss a few sprints into your regular 30-minute workout."

And if you find yourself struggling to maintain your max for those 30-second sprints? Don't sweat it too much.

"In reality, there's a whole continuum of benefits to reap as you get closer to your max," says Sevits.

The study was presented in Westminster, Colo., at a joint meeting of the American Physiological Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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