You’ve probably heard of impact and intensity training before – but do you really know what they are? In the world of sport, the two are often mistaken for same thing, when in reality, they’re not: affecting and benefiting your body in entirely different ways.
It’s time to get clued up. Read on to discover the specific pros and cons of impact and intensity training – and get savvy on which one you’re more suited to.
Intensity refers to the measurable amount of energy or strength you’ve used while exercising – quantifying, essentially, how hard you’re working in the gym. (This is different to ‘effort’, as effort is something you perceive, whereas intensity is scientific.)
A lot of studies – including this one – suggest that ramping up the intensity of your workout is beneficial. Not only does it help you burn fat faster, it increases your endurance levels and improves your oxygen consumption, too.
Further, intensity is easy to incorporate into your existing workout. Whatever type of sport you prefer, you can crank up its effects by upping your speed, increasing your range of motion or adding extra weight to your exercise (like using hand weights while walking).
The more intensity you apply, the better the results. A lot of athletes swear by HIIT – high-intensity interval training – where you intersperse light or moderate exercise with a minute or two of extremely intense movement. Be warned – though this can be very effective, it’s also extremely taxing. Dizziness, feeling sick and sore muscles are not uncommon afterwards. For those who are just starting to exercise, these effects will likely be worse. Our rule? Only give it a go if you’re already a bit fit.
Where intensity focuses on the amount of effort you’re putting in, impact alludes to the effect your workout has on someone or something else – including your own body.
With a lot of these types of exercise, it’s usually your body that experiences the most impact as it ‘absorbs’ it into your bones, joints and muscles.
This can be a great thing. When our bodies are pushed to their limits, they’re forced to grow, increasing our muscle size, endurance levels and weight loss efforts. There’s evidence to suggest that high-impact exercises can also strengthen your bones, which increase in mass when put under stress.
That being said, high-impact exercises aren’t for everyone. Weaker athletes might put themselves at more risk of injury if they’re routinely testing the limits of their body. For those who fit into this category, consider starting with alternative low-impact exercises such as tai chi, rowing and swimming.
If you’re physically fit and can do both, do both. Whether you try intensity or impact training in combination with each other or separately, you’re sure to see great results – acquiring more stamina and strength while losing fat fast.
On the other hand – if you’re weaker, older and/or overweight – start slowly. Go for low-impact exercises that’ll build up your endurance levels over time, and avoid intensity or high-impact training until you’re more equipped to handle them.
Impact, intensity or other – whatever type of training you want to do, we can help you at EVO. Sign up to try out your local club for free here.