The Intervals program on a Vision Fitness® upright or recumbent bike can be a valuable tool in your fitness regimen. Bikes are a great way to get your cardio training in, while giving your skeletal system a break from the stress of a weight-bearing exercise like treadmill running. One of the keys to exercising on a bike is maintaining a sufficient level of intensity so you are maximizing your time spent exercising. Unlike a treadmill that forces a user to keep up, on a bike, the user must push himself/herself to keep the level of intensity up where he/she is truly benefiting from the workout. This is where a program like Intervals can really help.
What is interval training?
Interval training is a method of training where you increase and decrease the level of intensity of your workout between aerobic and anaerobic training. The goal for interval training is to push the body past the aerobic threshold for a few moments and then return to your aerobic conditioning level with the objective of improving your performance.
The aerobic threshold is the intensity where your body switches from burning a greater percentage of fat to a greater percentage of carbohydrates. A general parameter to measure where this threshold is would be 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. According to the web site www.medicinenet.com, train below 85 percent and it’s aerobic; train above 85 percent and it’s anaerobic. (For more info on monitoring your heart rate, click here.)
Using the preset Intervals program
After selecting the Intervals program on your console, you will be prompted to enter in your age, your desired time and your weight. Once you have done this, the console will then ask you to enter in the difficulty level. This may require a trial and error period as you figure out which level will best challenge you. The resistance level will automatically change from segment to segment, alternating between a higher level of resistance (the active phase) and a lower level of resistance (the rest phase). These changes in resistance are designed to push you past your aerobic zone and into your anaerobic zone during the active phase, as described in the paragraph above. The duration of each segment is determined by the total time you entered in the beginning.
The benefits of interval training are numerous, and it is becoming the preferred method of training for many of today’s elite athletes. Benefits such as burning more fat, decreasing your risk of high blood pressure, strengthening your immune system, and lowering cholesterol, are all attributed to interval training according to Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com). Also, it can ultimately put less stress on your joints because you are exercising for shorter periods of time.
The beauty of this program, especially on a bike, is that anyone can start it and begin to reap the benefits immediately. Interval training can closely simulate participating in sports such as basketball, soccer and lacrosse. All are activities that include quick bursts of energy intermingled with periods of active rest.
Interval training has long been a favorite of coaches because it can be an effective means of improving an athlete’s cardiovascular capacity, thus helping their performance on the field. It can also help an individual burst through those dreaded “plateaus” we have all encountered at one time or another after performing the same exercise routines for an extended period of time.
For me personally, the active phase helps push me to workout harder, while reducing my perception of how long I have been working out, a big-time bonus in my opinion. So if you are looking for some variety and want to spice things up, I suggest you get off your feet, get on a bike and challenge yourself with an intense Intervals program.