High intensity or vigorous aerobic exercise is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise due to its’ impact on our bodies cardiovascular and metabolic systems. This is a commonly prescribed exercise for patients and clients in our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics. One of the most common draw backs of this form of exercise for those new to this intensity is lack of enjoyment. Working between 75-95% of your maximum heart rate can be unpleasant which is why intervals are so effective. Reducing the duration of each bout of vigorous exercise but repeating the bouts allows for a more enjoyable experience than a sustained bout of high intensity exercise. Clinically, we see in time these bouts become more enjoyable, honestly more fun, as your mind and body become more fit. A recent research study documented supported these findings.
Heisz and colleagues studies the changes in participant enjoyment of high intensity exercise over time (Plos One. 2016). Authors randomized 40 adults to either high intensity training or continuous exercise over a 6 week period. Each participant used a bicycle ergometer 3 days a week for 6 weeks. The HIIT group performed 10 bouts of one minute high intensity cycling (90-95% of peak heart rate) followed by one bout of recovery after a warm up. Conversely the moderate group performed 28 minutes of exercise at 70-75% of their peak heart rate after a warm up. Both groups cooled down after the aerobic training sessions. interestingly, enjoyment for moderate training stayed consistent but enjoyment for the intervals increased over the 6 week period. This study may shed some light on improving exercise consistency among participants.