#6: 15 Minutes of Interval Training Per Day

( 1 minute on — 1 minute off)

The idea in interval training is that you do a period of intense activity followed by an equal period or so of “off” activity. I like the one-minute on and then a minute off technique.

Apparently when we have high bursts of energy output like this, we trigger the body to start burning fat. The body knows that burning fat is another way to get even higher energy levels into the body. Studies show that interval training is a great conditioner. The point isn’t to drive yourself to exhaustion or to totally stress yourself out, but to just get your heart and lung rates up enough to get you out of breath. If you’re getting up in years, it might not take much; a 100 yard dash, 30 seconds of quick sit-ups, or whatever raises your heart rate. The resting period is also important– it gives your body a chance to recover, lowers your heart rate, body temperature and so on. A younger stronger person, might be able to go solid for 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off, and really high level athletes might do interval training with15 minutes on, 15 minutes off.

See New York Times article: A Healthy Mix of Rest and Motion

Personally, I’ve found the one minute period the best. It’s easy to look at your watch and to follow the one minute. I tried going 2 and 3 minutes but it just tires me so much, that I don’t recover for the next interval. All the time for that one-minute you should try to go at it fairly gung-ho. Speaking of gung-ho, gung-ho means working together. If you can find a partner to do some interval training, it is a great way to be gung-ho together.

Interval Training for Weight Loss

Interval training like any exercise can be dangerous; you can stress your body and have a heart attack or a stroke. When in doubt talk to your doctor, and like any new exercise, take it real easy for the first few days and work up. While exercise might trigger a stroke, keeping in shape is a great way to prevent these nasty outcomes. Remember to start easy,don’t overdo it and work up to higher levels.

The benefit of interval training is that one pushes the body to higher level, and even brief moments at these higher demand levels creates physiological changes. Another way to think about interval training is that you get twice the benefit for half the effort! That’s right, if you work hard out for one minute, rest a minute and work again, and rest again, then for 2 minutes of exercise, you are getting 4 minutes of benefit. Actually, you are getting even more. Studies have shown that after a brief intense interval workout, effects like higher metabolism can linger for up to 24 hours!

“After three months, they found that the exercisers who did interval aerobic training three times a week showed greater improvements in blood pressure and oxygen carrying capacity compared to the continuous aerobic exercise group.”

More about the study

The beauty of this exercise program is that you don’t need a lot of time. A 4 minute workout isn’t that hard to find. You simply start doing something strenuous for a minute. You could be doing steps (on a stair, or a stool), or you could run down the street fairly fast. Or you can start lifting weights (not too heavy) fairly vigorously for a minute.
If you are just starting, you can do something as simple as running on the spot.
If the activity you try is too hard for you, there’s nothing wrong with doing it for 30 seconds or shorter as you work up your conditioning — until you can handle the full 60 seconds.

Some studies have shown improved regulation of blood glucose and insulin from interval training. In short, interval training is a wonder. Interval training can be 30 minutes of activity twice a week, or 10 minutes a day. It doesn’t seem to matter. I find that doing 15 minute a day is a nice number – easy to handle … but I often do less. In fact, writing up about this, I realize, I’ve let my program slip… I’m going to start again on interval training.

Study results

Do you live in a hilly neighbourhood? Run up a hill … it works wonders. A nice way to get your heart rate up quickly.

Just one last thing. Nothing motivates us like being able to see some progress. Start with the one-minute on, one-minute off, and see how many cycles you can last. Try to add another cycle each week. Or alternatively, try timing yourself for 50 of the items (50 steps, 50 yards, whatever). Here is another reason for doing it every day: You can see your progress, from day to day, from week to week. I did weight lifting in interval training for 10 pound weights. When I started, 5 repetitions was all I could handle, and after just 2 weeks, I was handling I was up to 30 repetitions. This interval stuff works.

It’s a good idea to take a couple of days off; Sunday and Monday seem like good days to me. The first day back at work, can be exhausting, so sometimes it nice to rest up a bit. Traditionally Sunday is a day of rest for many, or you could choose Saturday, and that be can be your Sabbath day. That said, any two days probably work.

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