Recent research has furthered the case for interval training as being one of the most effective ways of helping to reduce the incidence of diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

The study findings even suggest that the intensity and duration of interval training sessions needn’t be as daunting as many people may think.

Martin Gibala, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University said, ‘What we’ve been able to show is that interval training does not have to be ‘all out’ in order to be effective and time-efficient. While still a very demanding form of training, the exercise might be more achievable by the general public – not just elite athletes – and it certainly doesn’t require the use of specialised laboratory equipment’.

Following on from a study conducted by the same group five years previously, the new study involved participants undertaking 20 to 25-minute exercise sessions, comprising eight to 12 one-minute bursts of exercise on an indoor cycle at a lower intensity, with 75-second rest intervals. Most of the participants found the workload (95 per cent of maximal heart rate) challenging, though it was actually only about half of what is achievable by sprinting.

Study subjects performed six training sessions over a 14-day period, after which they exhibited the same benefits as participants in a previous long-duration endurance training study, namely muscular adaptations linked to reduced risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and improved exercise performance.

Commenting on the findings, Gibala said; ‘That is the trade-off for the relatively lower intensity. There is no free lunch; duration must increase as intensity decreases’.

Source: The Journal of Physiology