The type of workout performed can determine the amount of calories you burn and for how long after the workout you will continue to burn calories. Post-exercise oxygen consumption (PEOC) is the term we use that explains the heavy breathing you perform after vigorous exercise. This breathing allows us to recover oxygen debt that happens during exercise. Our metabolism stays elevated while allowing your body to restore the oxygen you used when working out. Interval training results in a larger EPOC effect than some other forms of exercise. Beginners can start with a 1:3 work-to-rest ratio, and everyone should progress to a 1:1 or less ratio. If your exercise is walking/running, you would want to sprint for 30 seconds followed by a brisk walk for a minute and a half to have a 1:3 ratio. Stationary bikes can be used the same way by sprinting for 30 seconds followed by steady pedaling. Try to incorporate this technique into your favorite workouts.
Bridget R. Sanders, PTA
The Memorial Hospital Physical Therapy Department