People of all ages and fitness levels can benefit from interval training, which is simply alternating short bursts of intense activity with lighter activity. In fact, interval training can be better for overall health than slow, sustained exercise.
Life is like interval training. You work and then you rest, and so on. You can include interval training in your physical activity routine at many levels, and it doesn’t require special equipment. The key is to start at a level that is right for you and build from there. If walking is the activity you prefer, alternate with bursts of jogging, or brisk walking, depending on your fitness level. If walking on a treadmill, leave the speed the same, and increase the grade for short amounts of time — 30 seconds to 2 minutes — and back down again.
Interval training can jazz up your activity routine and keep it interesting and fresh. The more vigorous the activity, the more calories you burn, so it makes sense that interval training aids in weight loss. Another benefit is improved cardiovascular fitness, which will allow you to cover a specific distance in less time.
While most people can include interval training safely, it isn’t appropriate for everyone. If you haven’t been exercising regularly or have a chronic health condition, be sure to check with your physician before adding any type of interval training.
As with any activity, you should begin with a 5-minute warm-up, such as walking at a slower pace and light stretching. Add just one or two intense activity bursts at first. Listen to cues your body gives you to avoid injuries and sore muscles.