Interval Training: Pumping Up Your Cardio Workouts

Interval Training: Pumping Up Your Cardio Workouts

You’ll recall the old adage, “You need to walk before you can run.” But when you reach a certain point of physical and mental fitness with your workouts, especially if you’re being coached by a certified personal trainer, you will not only have the strength and stamina to run several miles per day, but you’ll be ready to tackle the next level of cardio training. That is, intense interval training.  

But don’t just take my word for it. According to a recent report by Runner’s World , interval training which is also known as high-intensity interval training, is a variety of speedwork engineered to make you run as faster speeds via short sprints. It is said to do “wonders for your fitness.”

Back when you first began your jogging routine, you likely followed a walk-run program which includes bursts of jogging mixed with short walk breaks for recovery. But interval training is thenext level of your physical fitness self-challenge.

Said more simply, you can do a sprinting interval from point A to Point B (a distance of maybe 50 to 100 feet) prior to doing an interval of slow jogging for recovery, before repeating the process perhaps a dozen times over the course of your daily two-three-mile jog.

Interval Training Benefits

Now we come to the good part. If you’ve been running for a few years now, it’s likely you’re not seeing any more visible improvements in your overall physical fitness. A personal trainer would tell you that you’ve plateaued. It means your body has adapted to the stresses you’ve been placing on it during your everyday physical fitness routine.

If the running seems a lot easier now than when you started, it means you are likely no longer seeing any improvements in your strength and speed. But by introducing interval training into your weekly cardio schedule, you can rapidly change things.

Here are some of the obvious benefits of adding interval training to your cardio routine:

More Calories Burned: There’s nothing wrong with a slow and steady run, but if you push yourself during an interval session, your body will be shocked into working harder, which meansit will need to burn more calories to meet the increased need for speed. Your recovery afterwards will take a little more time too.

Increase Your Heart Health: Want or need to keep your ticker in shape? HIIT or high-intensity interval training is a good way to accomplish this most important overall health task. A 2022 study conducted by Frontiers in cardiovascular Medicine concluded that HIIT training is better than medium-intensity training for improving or maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness.

More Free Time: Don’t have a full hour to devote to your morning jog? Interval training is said to be an excellent way to fit in a quality, high-intensity workout in a very short amount of time.

You Get the Runner’s High: When you push yourself to go faster for short amounts of repeated bursts, your brain has no choice but to open up your endorphin reserves. Endorphins are your “feel-good hormones.” They leave you feeling energized, and just plain happy.

Don’t settle for just a simple jog when you are capable of doing so much more for your body, your heart, and your mind. Try high-intensity interval training. It will do wonders for your life no matter what your age.

EXTRA TIP OF THE DAY: If you’re a cross trainer who is short on time, you can “run the rack,” which means lifting each set of dumbbells from the lightest to the heaviest you can handle without stopping, for 7 reps apiece. Take a full minute to recover and then repeat going the opposite way. This is a terrific strength and cardio “mini workout” that takes only a few minutes.

-- Mary Clark is a recently retired and decorated Colonel in the New York State Troopers. One of

the highest-ranking female law enforcement officials in New York State, she served for more than

three decades. Today she devotes herself to helping others achieve their life goals through a

combination of physical fitness, achieving an optimal mindset, and life balance.

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