Intense interval training

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talkhealth
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by talkhealth on Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:27 pm

Intense interval training

What do our fitness experts think about intense interval training - particularly in the light of Andrew Marr's comments the other day about his stroke following intense exercise?
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mark
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by mark on Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:10 am

Re: Intense interval training

In regards to heart health the bhf has the following guidelines

http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/prev ... ctive.aspx

Intensity needs to be managed during training sessions and there are a number of vehicles that can be used by the fitness professional.

Rate of perceived exertion. (RPE) scales ranging from 1-20 relative to the clients personal sense of exertion. Also referred to as the Borg scale.

Heart rate monitoring. Using a calculated percentage of maximum heart rate to ensure the intensity is optimal.

The talk test. Similar to the RPE scale using the individuals responses to guage intensity. Respiration rates and visual cues are used. It relates well to other measures of intensity (acsm 2004)

Metabolic equivalents. (METs) this is used by monitoring oxygen consumption. Oxygen consumption at rest is 3.5ml/kg of body mass. This is equal to 1.0MET (wilmore and costil 2004)

Lactate testing. Measureing blood lactate responses through blood analysis changes in lactate are noted. It can be used to establish optimum intensity for training. (McArdle 2001)

Its important not to rush into doing high intensity exercise as risks of injury can be high. It can be an effective tool to use in the right situation but monitoring must be tight with technique and posture not being compromised.
Mark Westbrook
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Rosemary Mallace
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by Rosemary Mallace on Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:07 am

Re: Intense interval training

I totally agree with everything that Mark said.

In addition I think you need to ask yourself what you want from HIIT. If you are an elite athlete you will be carefully monitored and you will be training for increased performance. What benefits will HIIT confer in later life? I think the answer to that is 'no-one knows.' Exercise can become an obsession and some people work on the principle that if 30 minutes of 70% exertion is good then 30 minutes at nearly 100% will be better. I can't find any scientific studies that show that to be the case.

Many people will have seen the Horizon programme about the benefits of 3 x 20 seconds of intense exercise 3 times a week. However, trials are still continuing. My personal opinion, based on no scientific evidence, I hasten to add, is that doing 3 x 20 seconds of intense exercise 3 times a week probably won't do any harm if you have no underlying medical problems. However, it would be IN ADDITION to the recomended guidelines for exercise and not INSTEAD of. I sometimes end an exercise session with this. My clients are all over 50 and some are in their 80s. This type of HIIT makes them puff a bit but, because they are not super-fit, they can't push themselves to exhaustion.

The question was what our opinion of HIIT was in the light of Andrew Marr's stroke. As there is very little research on HIIT and people over 50 what I say can only be an opinion. As I understand it, Andrew Marr was super-fit and was really pushing himself. I think he also ignored or didn't undersand warning signs that all was not well before the actual stroke, so I don't think his case is typical. So, my opinion of HIIT has not really changed. I still think it can be useful, for example, I use it when I'm out for a run, but I'm not fanatical about it. I listen to my body and don't push myself to the absolute limit. I don't think you necessarily need to have a heart rate monitor to know when you are over-doing it.

I know this seems a bit wooly, but there isn't any evidence for or against HIIT in the over 50s.

As Mark says, if you are going to do HIIT in a big way it is important to be monitored properly and have proper advice.
Rosemary Mallace
Personal Trainer

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