Interval training is a term that you're likely to hear thrown around by athletes of various types. This specific type of training provides a diverse array of different benefits to anyone who participates in cardiovascular activity, because it works both the aerobic and the anaerobic systems.
Interval training consists of cardiovascular activity that alternates between periods of intense exercise and total recovery. Because of the short duration of both of these parts of the training, you'll never allow your heart rate to drop to a completely resting rate during the recovery period. The benefits of engaging in an interval training program are many, including boosting your aerobic capacity.
Interval training brings about what is medically known as an adaptation response. Your body begins to adapt to the changes in the way that you exercise. Because you put your body under additional stress as you work out in this fashion, it responds by producing more capillaries, which allows the blood to flow through various muscles and parts of your body more readily. In return, your muscles build up a greater tolerance to lactic acid and your total exercise threshold begins to increase.
Cross Training Benefits
Interval training also boosts your total aerobic capacity by helping to make it so that you have less chance of being injured while you work out. By exercising your muscles in an interval training program, you'll put them through a series of tests which cause them to build up in strength and firmness. This makes them much less prone to injury that can happen when you're engaging in other cardiovascular activities as well as weight training.
Your total aerobic capacity is also somewhat related to your weight. Generally speaking, if you're over a certain healthy weight, your total aerobic capacity may have a lower maximum threshold than it would if you were at that target weight. Because of the way that interval training works, it actually causes your body to burn more calories than standard, even paced exercising in a cardiovascular way. This means that you'll be more likely to help lose any excess weight that you have and you'll be better prepared to continue with your aerobic training at a higher maximum level than you were able to engage in before.
Building Aerobic Capacity
To most successfully build your aerobic capacity through interval training and to avoid injuring yourself, it's a good idea to begin your interval training with easy and short intervals. Either work to increase the duration of your intense portion of training or work to increase the intensity itself at first, but don't try to do both. When you've increased the total time or the intensity and you become comfortable with the new method of training, then you should attempt to increase the other as well. This will help to ensure an even development of aerobic capacity.