Why Interval Training Is Better Than Aerobics for Losing Weight

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Weight Loss
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Losing weight and getting in shape are two of the most common New Year’s resolutions, so I expect at least some of you are focused on an exercise program about now.

Here’s an important tip: Any weight loss efforts will be more successful if your plan uses interval training rather than strictly aerobic exercises.

Unlike aerobic exercise, in which you exercise at a moderate rate for a sustained period of time, interval training alternates short bursts of intense exercise with longer stretches of milder exercise. Studies comparing the two types of exercise have found that interval training increases the presence of fat-burning enzymes and can boost fat loss by up to nine times.

How to exercise using interval training:

If you’re already walking, jogging, or biking each day, just add short intervals of higher-intensity effort to your normal workout.

For example, instead of walking at the same pace for 30 minutes, try walking at your normal pace for 5 or 6 minutes, then speed up your pace to a full-speed walk for 2½ to 3 minutes, then go back to the normal pace. (Whatever exercise you’re doing, the higher-intensity phase should last about half as long as the slower “resting” phase.) Repeat this pattern for your normal 30 minutes.

Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that aerobic exercise isn’t good for you. Quite the contrary. Aerobic exercise is still very good for you—as are all of the other exercises you should be doing. But if weight loss is your goal, you just can’t beat interval training.

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