What Are the Benefits of Continuous Training?

Daphne Mallory
Daphne Mallory
People training for marathons must run for extended periods of time.
People training for marathons must run for extended periods of time.

The benefits of continuous training include loss of body fat, stronger heart muscles, and higher energy levels. Athletes take advantage of this form of training to prepare for sport competitions and other events, but ordinary individuals can often experience health benefits as well. For example, the loss of body fat can help individuals shed unwanted pounds. Muscle building and toning also helps to maintain a desired body weight and metabolizes fat. While there are many benefits, it’s often noted that this exercise method can lead to mental exhaustion, muscle spasms, and chronic headaches.

During interval training, runners sprint for short bursts.
During interval training, runners sprint for short bursts.

Continuous training refers to non-stop physical activity for a specific duration. It’s a style of training often used by some athletes, such as runners who are training for a marathon. Interval training is the opposite, where the individual takes several breaks during the workout. For example, an individual may sprint for 1,000 meters and slow down to a jog for another 1,000 meters, and so on. If that individual were engaged in continuous training, she would try to push herself to sprint the entire 2,000 meters without stopping or jog non-stop for at least 20 minutes.

Continuous training helps to increase a person's stamina.
Continuous training helps to increase a person's stamina.

To gain the benefits of stronger heart muscles, an individual would have to work out continuously at a certain percent of his maximum heart rate and for a specified duration based on that percent. For example, a jogger could run for 60 minutes at 60% of his maximum heart rate or up to five minutes at 95% his maximum heart rate. This forces the heart muscle to work hard, and it often results in a stronger one as a result. The same is true for other muscles in the body. Swimming more laps, for example, will help to build and strengthen muscles by pushing those muscles to work harder for a longer period.

Continuous training has some downsides, such as mental exhaustion and muscle spasms.
Continuous training has some downsides, such as mental exhaustion and muscle spasms.

An increase in energy level is one of the outcomes of continuous training. The reason is that it provides aerobic benefits, which leads to endurance. Individuals experience more energy to complete tasks when they are not working out and often find that they are more productive as well.

What Does Continuous Training Improve?

Continuous training has many benefits. These include improving your breathing, boosting your heart function and strengthening your muscles.

Improving Your Breathing

Continuous training may help strengthen heart muscles.
Continuous training may help strengthen heart muscles.

Continuous training makes your body use oxygen for energy. Your lungs will be working hard to draw in that oxygen and to get rid of the carbon dioxide waste that’s produced. Aerobic exercise is a form of exercise in which your body uses large quantities of oxygen, improving your breathing.

Boosting Your Heart Function

Aerobic exercise is also known as cardio exercise, short for cardiovascular. Your cardiovascular system includes your heart, arteries and veins. Arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, and veins bring back waste products such as carbon dioxide.

Your heart gets stronger the more continuous training you do, since your goal is to keep it pumping at 50-85% of its maximum rate. The American Heart Association has a chart that can help you determine your target heart rate based on your age.

Strengthening Your Muscles

As you continuously train, your muscles develop microscopic tears. When you’re done exercising, your body either repairs or replaces the damaged muscle cells. This builds new muscle protein and causes muscles to grow and strengthen.

The underlying process of muscle growth requires long periods of strain on the muscles, followed by a long period of rest. This is why continuous training is your best bet for strengthening your muscles.

Why Is Continuous Training Important in Sport?

Continuous training is important for all types of sports because it builds both stamina and endurance. Stamina refers to the amount of time muscles can operate at their maximum ability. It involves how much energy can be delivered to those muscles. Endurance is the amount of time muscles can perform any given action. It’s all about how much oxygen can be delivered to the muscles. For example, in running, sprinters need maximum stamina to run 100 meters as fast as they possibly can. On the other hand, long-distance runners rely on endurance to complete a marathon.

Both stamina and endurance are important in many sports. For example, in soccer, players have to run up and down the field for 45 minutes, take a 15-minute break, and do it all over again. Rugby matches have athletes on the field for two 40-minute halves. Basketball players are on the court for 12 minutes at a time with only a few minutes’ break between quarters.

Is Continuous Training Aerobic or Anaerobic?

Continuous training is always aerobic, as it relies on the lungs to use oxygen for energy — “aerobic” means “with oxygen.” In anaerobic — which means “without oxygen” — exercise, glucose, or blood sugar, is used for energy instead. Examples of aerobic exercise that can be used for continuous training include:

  • Running or walking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Using an elliptical machine
  • Step aerobics or step training
  • Cardio kickboxing

Continuous Training Versus High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, has become all the rage in the world of exercise. HIIT involves a period of high intensity exercise followed by a period of lower intensity exercise. For example, a runner might sprint 500 meters, then jog 500 meters, then repeat the process. Other people who use HIIT may use time instead of distance for their intervals. For example, in a spin class, the instructor will lead students through a few minutes of rapid cycling and slower pedaling`.

Continuous training values consistency of effort through the entire workout. Instead of alternating sprinting with jogging, you would just jog continuously for a longer period of time.. Rather than swimming fast laps and slow laps, you would swim at a moderate speed.

Weight Loss

Studies have been done comparing weight loss in HIIT and continuous training. Some have shown that HIIT exercises burn calories faster than continuous training does. Others have demonstrated the reverse to be true. The number of calories burned is largely impacted by the length of the workout. HIIT workouts last no more than 20-30 minutes. The seven minute workout is particularly popular. Continuous training exercises can go for hours, as in a day of hiking, bicycling or cross-country skiing.

In aerobic exercises, you can work out longer than you can with anaerobic exercises, since you never run out of oxygen. In HIIT involving anaerobic exercises, your body uses glucose and its stored counterpart, glycogen, meaning you’ll come upon the end of your workout when your glucose and glycogen are used up.

Continuous training is a valuable method of exercise to build your cardiac and lung function, increase your stamina and endurance and boost your weight loss efforts. It can be done by professional athletes who want to increase their performance level and your average home exercise enthusiast looking to improve their overall health.

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Discussion Comments

julies

Some people find this a strange concept, but I have been able to control my chronic headaches with continuous running. I know that for some, exercise can bring on a headache, but for me the opposite happens.

Most of my headaches are caused by tension and stress and one way of relieving this is by running. If I start out on a run with a headache, usually by the time I am done, the headache is gone. When I am running, I am not thinking about all the things that bring on the stress.

It may sound crazy, but running gives my mind and body a chance to rest and the tension that is bringing on the headaches eases away.

Mykol

I do better with interval training than I do with continuous training. I find it more challenging to push myself for a few minutes, knowing I can soon take it down a notch. After a few minutes of rest, I am ready to get back to the high intensity interval training again.

I know that studies have been done on the advantages and disadvantages of both types of training, but I think it comes down to a personal preference. As long as you are making the effort to incorporate exercise in your regular routine, you know you are going to benefit no matter what.

John57

There are many things I like about aerobic training, but one of them is when I feel the endorphins kick in and I get that overall good feeling. Many studies have shown this type of activity is more beneficial than medication at helping people who struggle with anxiety and depression.

Not only am I benefiting emotionally from continuous training, but physically as well. I like to set small goals for myself and work hard to reach them. Once I feel like a 3 mile run is not very challenging anymore, I will increase it to 4 miles.

As I continue to get stronger and faster, I like to keep increasing my goals so my body continues to work harder and doesn't get too comfortable where it is at.

bagley79

I really have noticed a difference in my energy level since focusing on continuous training. Some might think the opposite would happen since the training can be quite challenging, but I find that I am more energized. This energy tends to stay with me through the day and gives me a feeling of confidence and accomplishment.

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    • People training for marathons must run for extended periods of time.
      By: Dirima
      People training for marathons must run for extended periods of time.
    • During interval training, runners sprint for short bursts.
      By: Dirima
      During interval training, runners sprint for short bursts.
    • Continuous training helps to increase a person's stamina.
      By: Maridav
      Continuous training helps to increase a person's stamina.
    • Continuous training has some downsides, such as mental exhaustion and muscle spasms.
      By: Dirima
      Continuous training has some downsides, such as mental exhaustion and muscle spasms.
    • Continuous training may help strengthen heart muscles.
      By: pixdesign123
      Continuous training may help strengthen heart muscles.