Interval training is a great way to mix up your cardio routine while keeping things fresh. When you begin a new routine, you may see progress during the first few weeks and then hit a plateau. Integrating cardio intervals into your routine helps keep your body guessing and will lead you down the path of success.
Cardio interval training is described as alternating high- and low-intensity activity. These sets of high- and low-intensity activity are then repeated for a pre-determined number of sets or amount of time.
The intensity of the session is going to depend on the power and duration of the high-energy portion of the interval. Remember, the low-energy portion should be considered a recovery to let your body regroup for the next interval.
The duration of the intervals can vary from session to session. Typically it’s recommended to start with a 1:1 ratio in regard to high:low intensity time.
Whether this is your first dip into exercise or you consider yourself an exercise warrior, interval training will help you jazz up your current routine.
Here are just a few ways interval training can help you reach your fitness goals:
- Interval training burns more calories than steady, static exercise. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you’ll burn. Elevating your heart rate for even a few minutes has been shown to have health benefits.
- You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise for a longer duration and with more vigor. Imagine being able to walk three miles in 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes.
- You can keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity is a simple way to add variety to your routine.
- You can do it anywhere because you don’t need any special equipment.
Before you start to integrate intervals into your workout, make sure you build a proper foundation and establish a consistent cardio routine. As your stamina improves, challenge yourself to vary the pace. You may be surprised at how much you can do.
For ideas on how to best integrate interval training into your current routine, please consult an exercise specialist at Riverview Health Rehab & Fitness.