You’ve read about interval training before, but often it’s in the context of crossfit, extreme bootcamps, or those 4 minute workouts that leave you dreading the next one. Over time, you can reap substantial benefits from high intensity interval training, but the trick is trying to stay motivated to do something that has you gasping for breath, and potentially injuring yourself. A recent study confirms the practical advice of figuring out what an appropriate interval program is for you. It should have the following criteria:
- Choose something you know is not too much for your joints, bones and muscles. A program that feels risky probably is– trust your gut instinct.
- Choose something that you don’t hate- you should have some level of enjoyment of the activity, or at least tolerance- if you hate running, and you decide to take up running, you will likely quit.
- Choose a variation of an activity that you have done in the past for a period of time. If you are a swimmer, do so for half an hour, and make every 3rd lap your “sprint” lap. A sprint doesn’t have to be an all-out effort, it can be strenuous, but you should be able to do several during the course of your workout.
This article examines the efficacy of a walking interval program. The main concept is that you can build an interval program that works around anything you can do in a manageable way. A recent finding that really makes the case is that the people who did this sustained their program well after the experiment ended, and improved their fitness as a result. Isn’t that the goal of most people when it comes to fitness? We’re looking for a way to get and stay more fit, continue to maintain and ideally improve our fitness through a reasonable, sustainable program. Check out this article for the details of this recent study. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/walk-hard-walk-easy-repeat/?_r=0
Although most of us have been walking since age 1, there may be some things we can still learn about it. Here’s a useful article about the correct walking posture and technique (not necessarily on ice, which favors the penguin form I sent earlier). Heel strike, mid-foot roll and toe push-off are essential. Conscious form in walking can help avoid injuries and strains. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1220&page=2
Lastly, here’s a 3 minute stretching video that’s helpful to do after your walking routine. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/videos-detail.asp?video=66
Go ahead and figure out your ideal interval program- if you’re wondering how to turn an activity you regularly do into an interval program that will improve your fitness, just think about alternating 3 minutes of regular activity with 1,2, or 3 minutes of harder effort. If you’re still stumped, ask me, and I’ll help you formulate your own program that can help you form a lifelong and health promoting habit! There’s your challenge- let’s see what you got!