Written by: Amy Ramos, PTA
Spring is in the air, it’s time to freshen up your workouts! Whether your fitness goals include taking your dog for a walk or running a half-marathon, consider interval training when planning your next workout.
What is interval training and why is everyone talking about it? Simply put, interval training involves alternating bursts of high intensity exercise with lower intensity recovery periods. Yes! It’s as easy as it sounds, but why do it?
Interval training increases cardiovascular fitness and burns more calories over a shorter period of time than steady-state workouts, especially after you work out. The heart is a muscle too, and will benefit from more intense activity interspersed with rest periods the way we train any other muscle, varied-intensity workouts are like bicep curls for your heart.
The principles of interval training can be modified for people of all levels of fitness, including those with special health conditions. Not only can this type of training be adapted to suit everyone, it can be used with all types of exercise, from simple walking to kettle bells. The idea is to perform anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 mins of activity at an intensity level of 7-8 out of 10, followed by a comparable duration of activity at an intensity of 4-5 out of 10, working up to 20-30 minutes alternating both. For example, instead of simply walking at the same pace for 30 minutes, try including hills, stairs, or simply speeding up and slowing down to vary the intensity level, you will work harder in less time
Breaking the monotony of exercising is an added bonus of interval training. The goal of boosting the heart rate can be accomplished by varying the speed, range of motion and/or resistance of virtually any activity so get creative! Challenge yourself and you will automatically boost your motivation and commitment to your new workouts.