Can You Improve Your Aerobic Capacity In Only 4 Minutes?

Aerobic capacity, also called V02 max, is a measure of the maximal amount of oxygen you can use during intense exercise. People who have a higher V02 are able to work out at a greater intensity without being limited by fatigue. Most people train to improve their V02 max by doing steady-state runs at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes or more. This approach works, but you may get more bang for your buck by doing short sprints instead.

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Improve Your Aerobic Capacity with Short Sprints

Can you improve your aerobic capacity by doing just four minutes of exercise? Researchers in Japan think so. They asked a great of athletes to run at a moderate pace for 60 minutes or to do a series of short sprints lasting only 4 minutes. The athletes in the sprint group sprinted for 20 seconds and rested for 10 seconds. They repeated this cycle 8 times to complete a 4 minute workout. The results will certainly make long distance runners take notice. The sprinters had greater improvements in their aerobic capacity even though they only worked out for a grand total of 4 minutes. Thats time well spent!

The Advantages of Sprints vs. Steady-State Running

Short sprints activate fast-twitch muscle fibers and tap into your anaerobic energy system. This creates a greater after-burn effect that burns more calories even after you've finished working out. It also builds power and strength, something you won't get from running at a steady pace over long distances. You can see the benefits of sprinting when you look at the well-developed legs of sprinters versus the thin, less defined legs of longer distance runners.

Sprinting also has the advantage of reducing the amount of time you need to work out. Instead of spending an hour or more running, you can boost your aerobic capacity in a much shorter period of time. This reduces your risk of overuse injuries, although sprinting carries the risk of injury if you're not properly conditioned.

A combination of both approaches may be best.

Sprinting even for short periods of time is an intense workout and not one you'll want to do every day.

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Posted in Fitness Post Date 03/11/2017