From walking to engaging in team sports, exercise comes in many forms. Aerobics, stretching, weightlifting and endurance training are some of the types of exercise that produce health benefits and enjoyment. Unfortunately, we often feel like we simply don’t have time to exercise. But does a busy schedule really mean less time to exercise? We agree with John Wooden, the legendary coach of UCLA’s basketball team, who said, "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do." And what you can do is super-charge your workout by using interval training.
This quick workout technique varies the exercise intensity of the effort you put out and increases workout benefits. Try adding it to a walking program – the most do-able way to get the benefits of physical activity (a stronger heart and immune system, a younger feel and a happier outlook on life). The magic number is 10,000 steps a day or about five miles. Use interval training to achieve it!
Here are expert recommendations for how to interval train:
- Alternate periods of puff-hard-can’t-talk-effort with periods of recovery. If you're walking, step up the pace for four minutes, then take it down for three minutes. Repeat at least two to three times during the session.
- Alternate one minute of super-effort with nine minutes of taking it slightly easier. You can find the interval that works for you, which may change as you become stronger. Bonus tip – using lighter weights with more repetitions can actually help you flex stronger muscles.
- The same varied rhythm goes for any activity, from the backstroke ("Waiter, is that fly doing interval training in my soup?") to the stationary bike. Learn some other great ways to add interval training to your exercise routine.
Interval training keeps every workout interesting and challenging, increases endurance, and maximizes oxygen usage - all great for building muscles. You’ll also lose more weight, which can positively impact your blood pressure, levels of HDL (healthy) cholesterol, mental focus and bone and joint health.