Recent studies have shown that switching out your exercise routines can help you both lose weight and get your body toned the way you would like it to be.  Like life, sometimes you can get yourself into a rut doing the same things day after day. This is one of the main reasons people reach a plateau and find themselves not seeing any form of weight loss.

Intense, interval-style workouts — brief bouts of very hard exercise broken up by periods of recovery — have been shown to improve the health and fitness of people who exert themselves for only a few minutes a week. Such efficiency is alluring, and has helped this kind of conditioning attract widespread media attention in recent years.

But high-intensity interval training programs aren’t for everyone. As researchers from Australia and England point out in the December issue of Frontiers in Psychology, “a largely sedentary population” is unlikely to “feel physically capable and sufficiently motivated to take up and maintain a regime of highly intense exercise.” That doubt is what makes some news out of Japan about a much-less-punishing form of interval training so welcome.

A decade ago, scientists led by Dr. Hiroshi Nose at the Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, started developing walking programs. They knew that walking was physically the easiest (and also the most practical) exercise for those in middle age and older, but the researchers suspected that people might need to push themselves to achieve the greatest health benefits. So they created a regimen consisting of three minutes of fast walking at a pace that Nose says approximates a 6 or 7 on a scale of exertion from 1 to 10. Each “somewhat-hard” three-minute spell was followed by three minutes of gentle strolling.

In their original experiment, the results of which were published in 2007, walkers between the ages of 44 and 78 completed five sets of intervals, for a total of 30 minutes of walking at least three times a week. A separate group of older volunteers walked at a continuous, moderate pace, equivalent to about a 4 on the same exertion scale. After five months, the fitness and health of the older, moderate group had barely improved. The interval walkers, however, significantly improved aerobic fitness, leg strength and blood-pressure readings.

This is just one of the studies spent on intense vs. routine workouts but training routines like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Workouts are becoming more popular all the time.  But remember, since it is high intensitivity besides consulting your physician it is also important that you monitor your pressure levels including your heart.  Heart monitors like the Mio Fuse Strapless Heart Rate Training and Activity Monitor  allows you to not only monitor your heart rate without the need of a chest strap, but also the calories burned, steps and allows you to monitor your activity throughout the day and send that data to your computer via “Bluetooth” technology so that you can accurately track your progress and stamina.

So think about changing up your fitness routines and work in some HIIT training if you are the active individual. Or if you are someone looking to just move yourself off of that plateau the 3 minute increased workout is the way to go for you.