Supercharging exercise with interval training
(HealthDay)—If your exercise routine isn't producing lower numbers on the scale, consider kicking it up a notch with high-intensity interval training.
The concept is simple: alternate bursts of high-intensity activity with intervals of less strenuous movement.
Doing high-intensity exercise, even for short periods, burns more calories than doing steady, moderate activity in the same amount of time, according to the American Council on Exercise. So, you can increase your intensity and your results without burning yourself out or spending more time exercising.
Here's how it works. If you're a walker, add in spurts of running or speed-walking. Walk at a slower pace for two minutes, then at the faster pace for one. Repeat the pattern until your workout is done.
If you're a cyclist, the idea is the same. Go fast for a minute or two, then ease up for the next few minutes—just don't go into complete coasting mode.
Base the length of your hard interval on your overall fitness level, general health and how you feel that day. There are no time minimums, so you can make up your own combinations and vary them as often as you like.
But keep in mind that the harder the high-intensity interval, the shorter it can be. So you might run full out for just 15 seconds and then jog lightly for 90 seconds or even longer.
Aim for a total workout session of 20 to 30 minutes.
As you build stamina, challenge yourself. Pick up the pace for a longer period of time. And you'll likely see the benefits in the mirror in no time.
More information: To learn more, visit the American Council on Exercise.
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