In a recent study from Shinshu University in Japan, researchers found an effective way to increase overall fitness and decrease lifestyle-related disease (LSD) through Interval Walking Training.
Interval Walking Training is the method of walking at 70% of the walker’s maximum capacity for 3 minutes, then at 40% of their capacity for the next 3 minutes. This is continued for 5 or more sets.
It’s not how much you walk, but how intensely you do so for a minimum amount of time to get positive results.
This may be welcome news for those who want to save time and get the most out of their workout.
The study is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The lead author is Dr. Shizue Masuki.
In the study, the team tested a group of 679 participants with a medium age of 65 over the course of 5 months.
Every two weeks data was collected from participants at a local community office and via the internet through the data measuring device (triaxial accelerometer).
The triaxial accelerometer is a device that beeps to let the walker know when they are working at least 70% of their peak aerobic capacity (VO2peak), and at 3 minutes to switch.
It recorded their walking data to the central server at the administrative center for automatic analysis.
VO2peak is the amount (volume) of oxygen (O2) the body is able to use during physical activity. It is the milliliters of oxygen used by kilograms of body weight per minute.
It is determined by measuring the concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the participants’ breath.
When the VO2 number reaches a figure and plateaus during intense exercise, that is the maximum amount of oxygen the person is able to utilize and is an indicator of fitness.
The higher the number, the more they are able to use, and the more intensely they can exert their body. Endurance athletes such as cyclists can have a VO2peak in the 70s.
The team found that the method outperformed the recommendation of the American Heart Association that to achieve peak oxygen capacity 75 minutes a week of the high-intensity workout is needed for improvement.
Participants in the study had big improvements in their aerobic capacity (VO2peak), with 50 minutes of Interval Walking Training a week. Improvements to their VO2peak were plateaued above 50 minutes a week.
They achieved a 14% increase in VO2peak and a 17% decrease in lifestyle-related disease through Interval Walking Training.
The team says this method is highly desirable due to the ease of maintenance.
Many participants remained highly motivated and went beyond their prescribed regimen and do not require expensive equipment.
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