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Aerobic Interval Training

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Updated June 25, 2014

Aerobic Interval Training (AIT)

What It Is

AIT, which some experts also call fitness interval training, focuses on working harder during your intervals, but not going all out, as you do with anaerobic training. AIT involves alternating moderate to high intensity exercise (e.g., running briskly) with a recovery period (e.g., walking). The idea is to work harder during work intervals while keeping the intensity below 85 percent of your maximum heart rate or at Level 7-8 on this perceived exertion scale.

Who It's For:

AIT is great for any level of fitness. Beginners can keep the work intervals at a moderate intensity to fit their fitness levels, while more advanced exercisers can change the length of each interval to make the workouts more challenging.

How to Do It:

  1. Choose any cardio activity - This can work with any machine or activity - Running, cycling, walking, elliptical, jumping rope, kickboxing etc.
  2. Choose the length of your workout - This might be 10-20 minutes for beginners or 30-60 minutes for more advanced exercisers.
  3. Choose the length of your work/recovery intervals - Because you're staying aerobic, you can create any work/recovery ratio you like. If you're a beginner, you might alternate 1-2 minutes hard with 5 or more minutes easy. The more advanced may make their work intervals longer (e.g., 10 minutes) and their recovery intervals shorter (e.g. 2 minutes).
  4. Start your workout with a 5-10 warm up followed by your work and recovery intervals. Alternate each for the length of the workout.
  5. End with 5 minute cool down and stretch.

How Often: This type of training (providing you're staying aerobic) can be done two or more times a week, depending on your workout schedule. More about How to Set Up a Cardio Program.

Aerobic Interval Training Workouts

Next: Types of Interval Training - Anaerobic Interval Training

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