Rev up your workouts with interval training.We know how it goes -- a hectic day of work, carpools, and putting dinner on the table easily gets in the way of your exercise routine. So, should you leave your workout until tomorrow or try to squeeze at least some exercise? Here's a secret to turbocharging a short workout so you burn more calories, even on a tight schedule: interval training.
Long beloved by athletes as a way to build speed and stamina in a hurry, interval training can help you burn more belly fat in less time. It's easy, too. You can add interval training to any workout, whether your thing is walking, running, swimming, or cycling -- even inline skating.
Marc Gillinov, MD, and Steven Nissen, MD, deliver the hows and whys of interval training in their new book, Heart 411 (Three Rivers Press). Here are their recommendations:
- Alternate periods of puff-hard-can't-talk-effort with periods of recovery. If you're walking, step up the pace for 4 minutes, then take it down for 3 minutes. Repeat at least two to three times during the session. Check your fitness level by measuring your heart rate recovery.
- Alternate 1 minute of super-effort with 9 minutes of taking it slightly easier. You can find the interval that works for you, which may change as you become stronger. Your high-intensity intervals should get longer and your recovery intervals will get shorter.
Interval training keeps every workout interesting and challenging, increases endurance, and maximizes oxygen usage -- all great for building muscles. You'll also lower blood pressure, lose more weight, raise levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, prevent diabetes, and sharpen your mental focus.
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