Obesity and inactivity is a growing cause for concern in the younger generations. While youth sport thrives, the gap between sporty and sedentary grows. While schools do their best to provide good levels of PE, is there a quicker and potentially more “exciting” way to improve health. A study recently published in 2018 examined the effects of interval training over fifty adolescents. They studied a number of factors, including cardiovascular health and fitness.


The Objective of the Study

Participation in activity is now recommended for pretty much all ages, ailments and populations. However, only 1 in 5 adolescents take part in the recommended minimum amount per week! The effects of short high intensity bursts of exercise have been widely examined in older populations. As a result, the aim of the study was to examine the effects of HIIT on sedentary adolescents.


The Study Itself

Over 50 teenagers were allocated to one of two groups. The first would take part in their normal 3×1 hour PE lessons each week. The other half completed 5-6 sprints 3 times a week. The sprints were classed as max effort and lasted 30secs on 30secs off. After 4 weeks all participants were put through a second testing session to look at improvements.


Interval Training Improves Cardiovascular Health

The study found that interval training improved multiple factors. It also showed they improved more so than in regular PE lessons. Sprint interval training can be a fast and effective way to improve cardiovascular fitness. Along with this comes a multitude of health benefits. If you want to decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes HIIT training seems a good place to start.


Where to Start?

As a leading Personal Trainer in Surrey, I often come into contact with clients (of all ages) who lead sedentary lives. A great place to start your interval training could simply be by changing a walking route. If you don’t fancy a long 30+ minute walk you could try this. If you find a steepish hill, walk up it as fast as possible for 30 seconds. Now you can walk down it nicely and gently to get your breath. Try repeating this 5-6 times, 3 times a week. From here, you can try jogging up the hill, then progressing to running.

You can do this with all forms of exercise. While sprint interval training was the focus of the study, you may need to build up to it. If you fancy something with a little less impact, try swimming or cycling. The possibilities are endless. Simply find something that makes you out of breath, then repeat it until you’re slightly more out of breath each time!