During your next workout, try changing it up from a typical walk around the park, or twenty minutes of a consistent pace on your favorite cardio machine. Try doing shorter periods of more intense exercise…high intensity intervals. For example, you can experiment with 15 to 20 minutes of 30 seconds all out hard activity followed by 15 seconds of rest, or 45 seconds of intensity followed by 20 seconds of rest. This type of exercise has many benefits, and keeps you from getting bored as you get healthy!
The intense work periods are performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute without overexerting yourself. The recovery periods may last equally as long as the work periods and are usually performed at 40% to 50% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate.
What are the benefits of HIIT?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT training has been shown to improve:
• aerobic and anaerobic fitness
• blood pressure
• cardiovascular health
• insulin sensitivity (which helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy)
• cholesterol profiles
• abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass.
The next time that you go out for a walk in the park, try walking very fast and hard for a period of time, then slow it down briefly to recover. Continue this for the duration of your walk and see the health benefits unfold before your eyes!