Category: Fitness

The Science Behind Tabata Exercises

The Tabata method of exercise is one that’s becoming well-known around the world. More and more are turning to interval training due to its effective nature, and the Tabata method is the most celebrated. The Tabata method is eight rounds of intense exercise that are performed for 20 seconds, which is followed by a 10-second break. This was designed by Professor Izumi Tabata and lasts for four minutes in total for each exercise.

Tabata introduced this new method in the late 1990s, making its debut in the CrossFit scene early in 2001. Since then, it has become a staple that many people follow to the letter. While we know its popularity and effectiveness, what’s the science behind why the Tabata method works? Let’s break it down and show why Tabata is the best way to exercise.

Tabata’s Research

Dr. Tabata isn’t simply one doctor that theorized that his new method would be effective without putting it to good use. Instead, he studied athletes that were preparing for the Summy Olympics and how they performed aerobically. First, he took those that were doing extended aerobic workouts while also studying those that were training in short bursts which would ultimately be his new method.

High-intensity interval training was known about at the time, but not really well researched. It wasn’t until Tabata found that those that were putting out maximum effort for 20 seconds at a time before going into light exercise for 10 seconds were increasing their VO2 maximum. Not only did it improve aerobic performance in studies, but also increased anaerobic performance so that athletes could use their muscles without oxygen.

The Rest Rate

Four minutes sounds like a breeze on paper, but it’s much harder than it sounds. A big reason for that is that after the maximum effort gets put into effect, even the lowered effort is still significant exercise, and it’s only for 10 seconds at a time. This allows your heart rate to drop into a better range before you kick it back into performance overdrive.

The Tabata method then allows you to rest for however long you need after your four-minute window has closed on an exercise. Some might only need a minute or two before they’re ready to start back up while others may need a full hour. Either way, mixing it up between the bursts of high heart rate and performance heart rate is great for effectiveness, while also burning fat. That leads us to our next point:

Bye Bye Fat

On top of being effective in building muscle and endurance, the Tabata method is one of the most effective ways of burning fat imaginable. Interval training has already been shown to be great for fat loss, and the Tabata method takes that to the next level. Trainers around the world have praised Tabata for coming up with the method that has helped their clients shed unwanted pounds while also helping with their mental health while adding muscle.

The Tabata method is a shot in the arm for your metabolism, and the maximum heart rate is reached with each exercise putting your body into the prime fat loss zone. Almost all major studies have shown that overweight or obese people see a more improved fat loss through the Tabata method, and even underweight people were able to build better muscle strength and increase aerobic capacity. Therefore, no matter what your starting point, Tabata helps get you to your healthiest possible.

From Tabata Himself

Dr. Tabata put a lot of work into finding the right numbers that would get the maximum results. However, he didn’t figure that his name would become attached to the exercise. “I had no idea it was going to be as popular as it has become,” Tabata humbly said. “It has been very exciting, and I’m very flattered that the name Tabata has become synonymous with this form of exercise.”

Those that have gone through the Tabata method have seen their cardiorespiratory fitness increase by an average of 10 percent. While that doesn’t sound like much, that’s actually a massive difference when it comes to that particular health measurable. Doing Tabata exercises can reduce your chances of heart disease, lower cholesterol, burn fat, and increase performance. With all of that in mind, you’re probably kicking yourself for not doing these exercises sooner!

The surprising benefits of running

Many people are attracted to running because of the physical benefits it brings. For people looking to lose weight (or keep it off), improve their endurance and stamina, and just to feel better overall, running is one of the best types of exercise there is. But there are some surprising benefits of running that make it an even more attractive form of exercise than it might initially appear to be.

Running can help you feel better when you’re awake, to be sure. But running also helps you with sleep. Indeed, you can get to sleep faster and sleep deeper and better if you’re a runner. As Johns Hopkins Medicine reports, there’s a correlation between exercise and deeper sleep. Researchers don’t know exactly why, or what time of day is best for exercising to bring about better sleep, but there are some indications as to how the correlation might work.

According to that article, “Moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get. Slow wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate.”

However, aerobic exercise results in an endorphin release, so if people exercise too close to bedtime, it can actually delay sleep. Exercise also raises the core body temperature; the Johns Hopkins article advises, “Elevation in core body temperature signals the body clock that it’s time to be awake. After about 30 to 90 minutes, the core body temperature starts to fall. The decline helps to facilitate sleepiness.”

Not only does running help you to sleep better, it also helps you to think better when you’re awake. A Runner’s World article lists a number of connections between the exercise that comes specifically from running and cognitive function.

One of the ways in which this happens is that you literally build up your brain as you run. According to the article, “Exercise drives the growth of new nerve cells (neurogenesis) and blood vessels (angiogenesis), which combine to increase brain tissue volume.” It also points out that “regular exercisers increased the volume of their hippocampus – that part of the brain linked to learning and memory.” That two percent boost is intriguing when you consider that scientists didn’t think that part of the brain could grow at all in adulthood.

And your brain doesn’t just get bigger with each run — it gets better. The Guardian points to numerous studies showing increased cognitive function associated with running in several different areas. That includes executive function, described in the article as “a suite of mental high-level faculties that include the ability to marshall attention, tune out distractions, switch between tasks and solve problems.” It also points to connections between exercise and improved memory, as well as running-generated endorphins contributing to better overall brain health.

So, while there are clear physical advantages to running, the mental side of what you get from pounding the pavement can’t be overlooked. Start a running regimen, and it might be reflected in how rested you are and how much smarter you might feel. 

4 Research-Backed Health Benefits of Cycling

Cycling is a low-impact physical activity that you can incorporate into your routine as a casual activity, mode of transport, or competitive sport. Beyond the widely known benefits of cycling, such as weight loss, stronger legs, and less stress, there are other lesser-known but research-backed health benefits of regular cycling. These include;

1. Improved brainpower

In addition to better mental health, regular cycling (exercise) can reduce depression and anxiety. In a sample of over a million study participants in the United States, researchers discovered that low-impact physical activities like cycling are linked to more brainpower. Another 2019 study revealed a link between cycling and improvement in cognitive functions.

But it’s not just adults who can benefit from regular cycling. A 2014 study featured in Pediatrics revealed that bike-riding activities more positively impact children. Also, regular exercise can help control issues such as attention deficit disorder in kids.

2. Reduced risk of cancer

Regular cycling could help maintain a healthy weight. A combination of a healthy weight and a conscientious diet (one with lots of lean proteins, healthy grains, and leafy greens) can lower your risk of cancer. A 2015 study review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated about 14,000 men. The study included participants with higher fitness levels. As they approached middle age, they were at a reduced risk of colorectal and lung cancer.

3. Lower risk of Parkinson’s disease

Cycling regularly can also ward off Parkinson’s disease. A 2018 study confirmed that regular exercise could lower the men’s risk of Parkinson’s disease. According to this study, putting just over three hours of cycling weekly at a pace of 10 miles per hour (mph) to 12 mph can lower your risk significantly. Plus, more exercise comes with other health benefits, such as better cardiovascular health.

4. Slow aging

As it turns out, aging can cause a gradual loss of muscle mass. It might not give you eternal youth, but various studies have revealed that cycling and other low-impact to high-intensity interval workouts have considerable anti-aging benefits down to your cellular level. Connective tissue and fatty tissue start invading, affecting your muscle’s ability to contract. Fortunately, regular exercises such as cycling can help slow down muscle mass loss.

According to a 2017 study, people who perform low-impact to high-intensity exercises have an increase in mitochondrial capacity. Therefore, the better your cells’ mitochondria can function, the more rejuvenated you will look – the slower the aging process. Note that a decline in mitochondrial activity can result in physical decline, which manifests as aging.


Regular cycling offers many health benefits and can help lower the risk of several common health conditions. For instance, it can boost your brainpower, lower cancer risk, slow your aging process, and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. It’s also suitable for most people, and you can safely add it to your daily routine. Be sure to wear protective gear and ride in areas with less air pollution.