Are you in an exercise rut? Do you want to kick your fitness level up a notch and increase your endurance? Would you like to add more intensity to you workout? Interval training is a good way to achieve all of these goals in a safe and systematic manner.
Interval training is simply a matter of alternating high intensity exercise and low intensity exercise. It allows one to get the benefits of the high intensity work while giving the body some rest time. It allows one to extend a workout time period and build endurance gradually.
Running on a flat surface burns calories and gives your heart and lungs a great cardiovascular workout. Running up hill challenges your muscles, heart, and lungs, burning more calories and providing additional toning. But taking a 30 minute run up hill or on a steeply inclined treadmill would quickly exhaust most of us, or likely force us to stop early. However, running up hill then back down, or up hill then on flat ground would allow for high intensity work counter balanced by intervals of slower periods of active recovery. Interval training burns more calories and pumps more blood than continuous lower intensity exercise because it includes intervals of energy and oxygen-hungry work.
Because interval training burns a lot of calories and provides good muscle work, it may help you save time. A pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks. Likewise, running one mile burns the same number of calories as walking one mile. But walking one mile takes a lot more time. If your goal is calorie burning and toning, and you are short on time, then interval training does more, faster. Just remember that improving cardiovascular health requires aerobic exercise of 30 ? 60 minutes, so don't make all of your workouts quickies, save those for when you're in a rush.
Interval training can also be helpful if your goal is to move yourself up to the next level of endurance and fitness. Maybe you have been trying to start a running program, but can't seem to maintain such a demanding exercise. Interval training is, in fact, one of the most effective ways to train the body. Marathoners commonly use this method to train for an up-coming race. A good program is to run for 4 minutes then walk at a good clip for 1 minute, or do a 3/2 interval. Your body will work hard then rest (while remaining active), work hard then rest. Your heart, lungs and muscles will make the transition to running, running farther, or running faster in a safe and productive manner.
There are a lot of ways to add intervals to your workout. If you are already a runner add hills or speed segments. If aerobics classes are your genre, add explosive moves like jumps or sprints. Include segments of speed walking in your normal walking routine or take the incline of your treadmill up a little higher at timed intervals.
Interval training is productive and can add excitement to your ho-hum exercise routine. Doing interval work in place of your normal routine, once a month, once a week, or once a day, is a good and effective plan. E-mail me if you need suggestions on how to intensify, endure and enjoy. You'll be glad you did.
Molly Setnick graduated from Baylor University with a BS in Health/Fitness Studies. She is certified as a Physical Fitness Specialist through The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas and is AFAA certified to teach aerobics. She co-writes a weekly column for the Texas Jewish Post with Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD called "Making Fitness Fit". She can be reached at www.FitInFitness.com.
Copyright © 2004 Molly Setnick. Permission is granted to reprint this article in non-commercial publications so long as the bio paragraph and this notice is included. All other rights reserved. Inquiries may be made at www.FitInFitness.com.
--------------------- Using The Stairs ---------------------Not everybody has stairs in their... Read More
My name is Greg Ryan. I am a fitness expert,... Read More
In the course of my experience working and training in... Read More
Back when I was young and living on my parents'... Read More
If you're like most people, finding time for exercise... Read More
Even light exercise is good for you, so don't get... Read More
Top Trainers share their secrets to getting slim, toned and... Read More
This is the latest advice to the public and many... Read More
Many people dismiss the cool down as a waste of... Read More
Hopefully, if you read my last article I got you... Read More
We've all had days when we don't have the energy... Read More
This is going to be kinda short and sweet. .... Read More
There's plenty of evidence that an essential component of a... Read More
Back exercises are often prescribed effectively as an alternative to... Read More
The abdominal muscles are essential for maintaining good posture and... Read More
Twenty two years ago I fell into the world of... Read More
Learning Tai ChiTai Chi combines movement, meditation and breathing, to... Read More
Are you in an exercise rut? Do you want to... Read More
Do you know the health and fitness industry is plagued... Read More
In our modern day society we have moved away from... Read More
What I am about to reveal to you can make... Read More
While working out in the gym, I have noticed that... Read More
The world and our selves evolve and exist in a... Read More
"When I'm lifting free weights, I tend to go pretty... Read More
Plateau. That dreaded word that you do not want to... Read More
Lower back pain is an increasingly common problem in fact... Read More
In the first article in this series (http://tinyurl.com/8ztbo), we gave... Read More
Ever since I took a power walking class in college,... Read More
As we twentysomethings get further along in our twenties, we... Read More
Are there flat tummy exercises that are the best for... Read More
Athletics are pretty cut and dry in one regard; the... Read More
Ah, the crisp cool breeze, the invigorating feel of the... Read More
Do you consider exercise fun? Everyone wants to be fit... Read More
Press Conference 1996 ? Lance Armstrong On Wednesday October 2,... Read More
Having your own home gym with free weights is not... Read More
-------------------- Things Around The House --------------------Don't feel that just because... Read More
Hundreds of Thousands of Americans spend millions of dollars each... Read More
Several sites, including this one, recommend that you take a... Read More
When you decide to exercise, try to really stick to... Read More
When I get finished teaching you this never-before-seen version of... Read More
One of the major benefits of the YourBestBodyNOW Program and... Read More
People walking regularly for exercise often walk for more than... Read More
When we think about the life in the country, there... Read More
"Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize... Read More
When designing an aerobic or strength training exercise program, fitness... Read More
1. Begin Looking at Exercise Differently. Think of exercise as... Read More
Stretching exercises are important before you begin your workout. Always... Read More
I was excited to hear the esteemed speakers at the... Read More
Plateau. That dreaded word that you do not want to... Read More
You already know that getting at least 30 minutes of... Read More
Exercise & Fitness Exercise & Fitness