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Little Time for Exercise? Try Interval Training

By Paul Rothbart

Exercise is vital to good mental and physical health. It can also be quite time consuming. Fitting workouts into a schedule already jammed with work, taking care of family, pets, and a household. It can be daunting. You can't add more hours to the day. But you can shorten the length of exercise sessions. You can reduce the time spent workout without making it any less effective. It's called interval training and involves cycling short periods of high-intensity training with low-intensity recovery periods. It is a tough way to train. In fact, it is recommended that you spend a few weeks building cardio before trying it.  Once you get used to it, you can reach your fitness goals in less time than you may have thought possible. Interval training can be practiced with any type of cardio exercise.

Warm Up

Just as with any other type of workout, interval training should be preceded with a thorough warm-up. About 15 minutes is a good length of time for a warm-up. Stretching should be first to get the muscles loose and flexible. Some light calisthenics are next. Jumping jacks are effective for the whole body. For running or biking, five minutes at a leisurely pace will prepare you for the upcoming intensity. Do the same if you use a stationary bike or rowing machine.  If you swim, five minutes of slowly moving through the water.

The Workout

The workout is when things get challenging. After you are warmed up, perform your exercise for three minutes at a pace that will get your heart rate to 90 percent of its maximum. On a scale of 10, this should feel like an effort of 8.5-9. If you are a runner, that would be almost a full sprint. Swimming would be at nearly a racing pace. The same applies to biking or rowing. Next, spend three minutes in a recovery phase. This would be an easy jog, or casual swim. Bike or row at a relaxed pace. Repeat this pattern three times. Finish with a 10-minute cooldown. This should include some stretching. Then you are finished. An intense workout in far less time than traditional exercise.

Exercises to Try With Interval Training

Lunges work very effectively with interval training. Another good one is the soccer toe tap. Stand behind a medicine ball. Tap your toes on top of the ball, alternately left and right while moving in a circle around the ball. This gets the heart working, burns calories, and is great for balance and coordination.

Finding the time to get in a good workout can be challenging. By employing interval training, you get in some intense exercise and build your level of fitness in a fraction of the time. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Schaumburg, Ill.

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