K35 — August 2010 — Interval Training
Intro: Some cardiologists at Mayo Clinic are recommending to their heart patients what Olympic athletes have known for years. Interval training is better for your overall health than longer sessions of slow, sustained exercise. They say no matter what your age or your fitness level, interval training can help reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
"Two, three. Six…"
"Life is interval training. We work and then we rest."
Fitness expert Wes Emmert leads an interval training camp. Interval training is when you add short bursts of high intensity to aerobic workouts.
"The big thing for me is you take it in small steps. You achieve a lot and then you rest."
The people in this class are very fit. But everyone, even couch potatoes or people who've had heart attacks can benefit from interval training, says cardiologist Stephen Kopecky (Koh pet skee).
"Interval training evokes in people's minds marine boot camp. Three weeks without food and water in sub-zero weather. It's not that way at all."
It's about starting slow and going at a level that's comfortable for you. Take for example, Eldon Skurdahl. He had a heart attack and a quadruple bypass, but every day he interval trains on the treadmill.
"I leave the speed the same and then I just increase the grade."
Dr. Kopecky says if you do intervals for 20 minutes and every so often go hard and increase your heart rate for 30 seconds to two minutes and then back down again, you burn the same amount of calories as you would in 30 minutes of sustained exercise.
Interval training also helps your heart, arteries and muscles work more efficiently than sustained exercise. And it improves your over-all fitness.
"We know even patients that have had heart attacks can do interval training for two minutes and do it safely."
You just have to start at the level that's right for you and build from there. Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program, to make sure you're healthy enough for exercise.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Kopecky says he's seen people of all ages benefit from interval training. Even older folks and people who are just starting an exercise program. He says the more you move, the greater your chances are of reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke. For more information, visit our website at…
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