by Greg Landry
If you’re like most people, finding time to exercise can be a challenge, so you want to get the most out of the time you do have. Including “intervals” in your exercise routine can help you maximize your weight loss and fitness results.
Intervals are brief periods (about one minute) of more intense exercise mixed into your regular aerobic exercise sessions. For example, if you’re walking, you would do a one minute interval of faster walking about every five minutes throughout your exercise session.
Here’s how it will look.. you’ll start with your normal three to five minute warm-up and then five minutes into your workout you do your first interval, one minute of faster walking (or perhaps jogging). At the end of that minute you should be “winded” and ready to slow down. You’ll slow down to your normal exercising speed for the next four minutes and then your fifth minute is another one minute interval. This pattern continues throughout your exercise session.
You’ll derive several benefits from intervals..
1. Intervals can help you to get past a weight loss plateau.
2. Intervals increase your aerobic fitness level by “pushing the envelope”. While doing your interval you cross the anaerobic threshold into anaerobic metabolism, forcing your body to become conditioned to more intense exercise.
3. Your increased level of fitness means that a given level of exercise will feel easier and that you will be able to exercise at a higher intensity which “burns” more calories.
4. Your increased level of fitness also means that you will be less fatigued from daily activities and you’ll have more “energy” throughout the day.
5. Intervals increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), causing you to burn more calories 24 hours-a-day.
6. Intervals cause you to “burn” more calories during your exercise session and for several hours afterwards.
7. Intervals will tone the involved muscles to a greater degree than your regular aerobic exercise would.
8. Intervals can make your exercise less monotonous and help the time pass more quickly.
9. Intervals will energize you!
If you’d like to put a little excitement into your exercise, and you’re looking for better results, give intervals a try!
By Greg Landry, M.S., Exercise Physiologist www.greglandryfitness.com
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