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Fitness - A New View on Intense Exercise

Updated on March 6, 2021
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.


Helgerud's Intense Exercise Program

Sports journals are reporting that intense exercise for a shorter duration may be more effective than the standard moderate exercise models. This would eliminate the old excuse of "I don't have time to exercise". Some people say you can accomplish a full week of exercise in less than one hour with this plan. These regimens, also called interval training, were originally developed for Olympic athletics and thought to be too strenuous for normal people.

Jan Helgerud, an exercise expert at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, recommends people try four sessions lasting four minutes each, with three minutes recovery in between. You should be a little out of breath, but you shouldn't have the feeling of exhaustion according to Helgerud.

In the United States and Britain, officials recommended about 2 1/2 hours of moderate exercise each week, which was a recommendation for a sedentary population. Plus, this was intended primarily for weight control.

Sports Training - Speed Workouts - Stair Running

Good Effects of Interval Training

The time people spend in the gym could be cut dramatically, but there is a concern that the exercise might be too intense for some people. Helgerud states he is more concerned with people not exercising at all, and he further states that the intense exercise is twice as effective. The bulk of the studies that have been completed at this point are primarily on younger, healthy people.

At this time, research has shown those doing interval training can double their endurance, improve their oxygen use and strengthen their bodies by more than 10% and increase their speed by at least 5%. Even studies of the elderly and of heart patients researchers found they had better oxygen use and improved fitness after doing interval training.

Researchers used a man from London, named Adamson Nicholls, a 36-year-old who was a martial arts enthusiast. He started in interval training to boost his endurance and to outlast his sparring opponents. He got into top shape in 6 weeks using weekly 45 minute sessions. He estimated that traditional training would have taken 6 months.

Experts say this is due to intense bursts of activity, which are precisely what the body needs to build stronger muscles. This will then increase your metabolism for several hours afterward, which will burn carbohydrates and fats for a longer period of time.

It seems that the high-intensity exercise is the perfect program for many people who don't have much extra time in their lives and want that burst of extra strength in the short term. We all have to choose the best workout routine for our lifestyle.

High Intensity Exercise


Check Your Heartrate

You need to know your target heart rate. The typical formula for the average person is 220 minus your age, times 60%, then times 90%. For example, if you are 30 years old using the above formula 220-30+190 times 60% =114 and times 90% = 171. So your target heart rate is 114-171. You use a second-hand watch, and count your pulse at your carotid artery on either side of your throat for 15 seconds and times it by 4, or you can count for the whole minute.



It's a big commitment to have an intense exercise type of training program. The upside of this, of course, is the exercise takes less time than normal and you will enjoy the results much sooner than with the traditional program. This is certainly a personal choice, but some people it seems to be working quite well

Would you like to try this Interval Training?

What do you think of the intense training program, exercising once weekly?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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