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Marsh column: Interval training defined

Q. I hear interval training is a good workout. What is it and what do I do?
A. Interval training is broadly defined as repetitions of high speed/intensity work followed by periods (which are actually the intervals) of rest or low activity. An example can be to run 800 meters, then walk 400 meters.
High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) is an exercise strategy that is intended to improve performance with short training sessions. HIIT is a form of cardio which is beneficial to burning fat in a short and intense workout. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 15-30 minutes. Most HIIT sessions have a 2:1 ratio in terms of time.
For example, 60 seconds of jogging would be paired with 30 seconds of sprinting.
I believe you need to achieve a basic level of conditioning before you start doing interval training. If you have never have done anything ó or it has been a while! ó start to walk/jog/run/bike or whatever cardio you like first. Get your body used to exercising.
After you hit your first plateau (that is, after you initially see results, your progress comes to a screeching halt) whether it is weight loss or no improvement in your running etc., interval training becomes very effective.
(By now your body is used to exercise and ready for more.)
Please know that your chance of injury does increase by doing intervals, especially high intensity intervals.
Examples of interval training:
On the treadmill:
– Walk 5 minutes, run 1 minute (you can do this once, twice or 20 times)
– Jog 2 minutes, sprint 30 seconds
– Walk on zero degree incline for 3 minutes, walk on 15 degree incline for 1 minute.
On the bike:
– Bike at a normal speed for 3 minutes, speed for 1 minute
– Bike on low resistance for 5 minutes, high resistance for 1 minute
– Bike seated for 2 minutes, stand and pedal for 1 minute
In the pool:
– Swim 100 meter (4 lengths), sprint for 25 meters.
– Swim 50 meters, use kick board 25 meters
– Swim 75 meters, block between legs and only use arms.
These are some examples of what interval training can be. If you are not sure what would be good for you, please talk to one of our trainers and we will be more than happy to help you.
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Ester Marsh is associate executive director of the J.F. Hurley YMCA. Contact her with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or emarsh@rowanymca.com.

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