Woman running up the stairsInterval training is an easy way for everyone from the novice to the advanced athlete to get more benefits from exercise. Just as the name implies you add intervals or periods of high intensity exertion to your regular workout. Here is what you need to know to start revving up your fitness plan today.

How to do interval training

If you currently walk for 30 minutes at a moderate pace (for example, your level of exertion may be a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10) consider adding some intervals. Try this:

  • Warm up for five minutes and walk at a moderate pace for three minutes before ramping it up. How hard you go will depend on your fitness level.
    • Beginners can push their exertion level from 6 to 8 for 30 seconds.
    • More experienced walkers can increase their level of exertion from 6 to 10 for 45 or 60 seconds.

As you build stamina you can lengthen intervals of higher exertion. So maybe if you started by speeding up for 10 seconds, you can work up to 30. Alternatively, you can add more intervals.

  • Alternate 30 to 60 seconds of walking/running or running/sprinting throughout your workout. There are a number of timekeeping apps that signal you to switch intervals.

Benefits of interval training

Woman working out at the gymInterval training has gained in popularity over the last several years with good reason. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased stamina and endurance. Going hard helps you build lung capacity as well as build cardiovascular strength.
  • Increased caloric burn – higher intensity exercise burns more calories in less time.
  • Increased interest – mixing up your workout can make it feel less monotonous.
  • Increased challenge – the pride you will feel in pushing your body to do more, and actually meeting the demand, will help you reach a new personal best.

There is no reason not to start interval training with your next workout. No special instructions or equipment is required. Just be sure to train at your current fitness level so you are less likely to injure yourself by going too hard, too soon.