EDWARDSVILLE — As the finale to their undergraduate studies in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education, Health and Human Behavior (SEHHB), five seniors determined which, if either, style of aerobic exercise was more effective among untrained adults: steady state or interval training.
Project team members, all slated to graduate in May with a bachelor’s in exercise science from the SEHHB Department of Applied Health, included Courtney Willoughby, of Chatham, Marcus Breden, of Hardin, Cody Snyder, of Shelbyville, and Tyler Hubert, of Red Bud, all in Illinois, and Jorden Ekstrom, of Indianapolis, Indiana.
“Interval training programs have become increasingly common, touted by their ability to produce better results than that of standard aerobic training,” Snyder said. “However, with the higher intensities comes the greatest risk for injury, especially in an older population that has not exercised in years.”
“A lot of research on interval training does not equate for workload,” Hubert noted. “Therefore, we wanted to test the hypothesis that the amount of total work done, not the mode in which its performed, is the main driver of the changes seen from aerobic exercise. We based our project off protocols performed in previous research.”
The project team gathered 16 participants, all of whom qualified as sedentary, untrained adults who work desk jobs for eight or more hours each day. The participants were split into two groups: steady state and interval. After conducting a pre-test, the students led participants through a training protocol for six weeks, then conducted a post-test.
“Our goals were to see whether interval training or steady state cardio was a more beneficial or effective form of aerobic exercise given an equivalent workload,” Ekstrom said. “We wanted to apply what we have learned in the classroom to a specific population, as well as reduce sedentary behavior and improve the everyday movements of our participants.”
Their results did not show a significant difference between the two aerobic training modes. However, they say their experience greatly enhanced their preparedness, and ignited their passion for future studies and professional work.
“We found that for the most part, both programs were equivalent,” Breden explained. “The one statistically significant difference was the change in resting heart rate, which showed a greater decrease in the interval group.”
“I was shocked at the results and improvements that were made in six short weeks,” Willoughby noted. “Our participants were dedicated and motivated. So much so, that we adjusted our initial workloads to make the training more challenging for them.”
“This group of students completed their work as part of the University’s required senior assignment,” said Bryan Smith, assistant professor and exercise science program director. “The requirement encourages students to integrate general education…