Its no secret that I think cardio is important because I preach this all the time. I also have consistently pushed the importance of steady state, endurance cardio over interval training and now I have an even greater reason to do so! It has been known for quite a long time that exercise causes the creation of new neurons in the all important hippocampus area of the brain which is why exercise has been stressed for older people wanting to prevent a decline in mental capabilities with age. Research published in the Journal of Physiology this week titled “Physical exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in male rats provided it is aerobic and sustained” showed that in rats, steady state cardio produced far more new neurons than either interval training or resistance training. In other words, endurance cardio is much better at preventing the loss of that grey matter between the ears than any other kind of exercise.
I have always felt that for me personally, endurance cardio was far more beneficial in a zillion ways than interval cardio and this gives me yet another big reason to love it. Most people dislike cardio and want it over with as soon as possible so the allure of 8 minute tabata workouts is great for them. I love the zen of losing myself in my thoughts during endurance cario, something simply not possible during intervals.
Yes, interval training has its place for those athletes who need to increase their sprinting speed but for those just interested in health and weight loss, its a risky proposition because of the injury potential.
Please see this article on interval training