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Fitness - A New View on Intense Exercise

Updated on April 8, 2018
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 intensity exercise for 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 is out the window". 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 felling of exhaustion according to Helgerud.

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



Good Effects of Interval Training

The time people spend in the gym could be cut dramatically, but there is 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 mostly on younger, healthy people.

At this time, research has shown those doing interval training can double their endurance, improve their oxygen use and strength by more than 10 per cent, and their speed by at least 5 per cent. Even studies in the elderly and in heart patients found they had better oxygen use and fitness after doing interval training.

They used an example of a London man, named Admason Nicholls, a 36 year old Londoner and martial arts enthusiast. He started in intervaltraining to boost his endurance and to outlast his sparring opponents. He got into top shape in 6 weeks last year using weekly 45 minute sessions. He estimated that traditional training would have taken 6 months of training.

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.

Sports Training - Speed Workouts - Stair Running


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

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Helen, I appreciate you sharing that information. I tend to do the same thing also but the weight has been unchanged for a while, so thank you. Maybe that is the problem.

  • profile image

    Helen Bolam 

    8 years ago

    Interesting article. I workout at the gym five times a week. Any intense exercise taken can only be done for a certain length of time,otherwise your body will start to burnout. I'm just discovering that changing your workout routine regularly stops your body from getting used to the same routine and a factor in keeping weight off. You can go to the gym and do the same routine for months, but your body will start to put weight on again. Keep it guessing with new workout routines.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    High intensity training, It sounds like you are involved in high intensity training or at lease in the exercise field. Thanks for the information.

  • profile image

    high intensity training 

    8 years ago

    High Intensity Training was meant for bodybuilders but in recent times it has been put into use for weight loss measures and getting a toned body for normal people.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Support Med, Thanks for your comment.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 

    9 years ago from Michigan

    Very informative hub! I like the idea of interval exercising.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hubby, we all have to find the path that works for us. This is just one of many I read about. You obviously have a plan that works for you so all is well.

  • hubby7 profile image


    9 years ago from Chicago

    It's sounds a bit too intense for my approach to exercise. I don't believe in hurrying. I believe in listening to your body. I believe in the gradual, softer, "nature's way" to exercise. That approach is contrary to my exercise philosophy. But thanks for the info anyway. Nice hub.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    LRobbins, I believe Helgerud is in Europe but I saw a similar approach on another article. It sounds like you have it all together. Thanks for your comment.

    Jack, Thanks so much for your kind comments.

  • TnFlash profile image


    9 years ago from Tampa, Florida

    Great Hub! Good information and well written as usual!

  • LRobbins profile image


    9 years ago from Germany

    I've never heard of Helgerud's exercise program before, but I found that my hiking speed increased considerably by including harder workouts and interval training - as much as I dislike doing them, they are effective.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Miata, Thanks for stopping by. I think by the end of March we will have learned more than we ever thought about with regards to health and fitness.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    9 years ago from US

    Now I am educated about Hlegeruds method, it seems a nice way of losing weight, but intensive, Thank you Pam, great work, Maita

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Jim, It sound a lot like interval training with the exception of the timing. They don't do 30 minutes straight without a break. I think if you can do what you're doing now you are probably don't need to change a thing. Thanks for your comment.

  • FitnezzJim profile image


    9 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

    For cardio portion of a work-out, I usually vary intensity level for 30 minutes on an elliptical. That usually burns over 600 calories (and soaks my shirt with sweat). I think it's similar to interval training, but doesn't push quite as hard.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Pinkylee, Thank you for your comment.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    great hub... defiantly something to think about

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Habee, Thanks for the comment.

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 

    9 years ago from Georgia

    Thanks! I've been hearing bits about this!


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