Interval training involves simply alternating a low-intensity activity (such as walking) with short bursts (for example, 30 to 90 seconds) of a higher-intensity activity (such as running) throughout your workout session.
The Benefits of Interval Training
- Interval training boosts the calories you burn. So, you can burn more calories in less time, which we all are short on!
- Interval training improves your cardiovascular endurance, or aerobic capacity. This helps your heart and lungs function more efficiently.
- Interval training keeps your body challenged.
- Interval training helps pass the time you are exercising by keeping your mind busy during the activity.
How to Begin Interval Training
- First check with your doctor, because interval training is not for everyone. If you have a chronic health condition or have not been exercising regularly, you may not be able to tolerate interval training.
- Once you have clearance from your doctor, it is a good idea to begin interval training slowly.Try adding only one or two bursts of a higher–intensity activity in your exercise session. Then increase the number of bursts in future sessions as tolerated.
- If you’re a novice, try walking and then adding 30 to 60 seconds of walking faster. Then return to a slower walking pace. Repeat if tolerated.
- If you’re in good shape, try walking more briskly and then adding 30 to 90 seconds of light jogging, as tolerated. Then return to a brisk walk. Repeat if tolerated.
- Get guidance. Consider meeting with a physical therapist, exercise physiologist or certified personal trainer, who can recommend and oversea an interval training schedule so you get the most out of your workouts.
- There are also downloadable programs for the iPod or iPhone, such as Couch-to-5K, that will allow you to follow a planned program of increasing interval training to work up to jogging 5 kilometers (or 3.1 miles) at your own pace.