interval training

do know that interval training aint something meaningful for just the serious runner. it can be scientifically planned taking into account your heart rate zones and it can also be simply planned without stressing much on the scientific equation! 

lets assume that you currently run (or even walk) around 30 minutes every single day for six days a week. problem with this approach is that you are doing the same thing over and over and over again which basically leaves you with no major improvement other than the fact that you can cover the distance with that 30 minutes! your body is already used to this distance and to this set time. your heart rates doesn’t change much. and what you are loosing is the ability (the potential) of your body to make improvements (endurance related). 

interval training works both the aerobic and the anaerobic system. during our burst of high intensity the anaerobic system is said to be in charge (as opposed to the aerobic system when we are at the recovery phase soon after the high intensity). anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for those short bursts of activity (we work without oxygen and often results in a byproduct known as the lactic acid). 

our bodies are remarkable systems. as lactic acid builds, we enter “oxygen debt”  and during the recovery phase, our heart and lungs works together to “pay back” this oxygen debt and break down the lactic acid. in this recovery phase, our aerobic system takes charge and uses oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy. 

with the theory in mind, do know that by performing high intensity intervals that produce lactic acid during practice runs, the body adapts and burns lactic acid more efficiently during exercise (meaning athletes can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatigue or pain slows you down). 

now that you know, here’s a few things you can try out next time you go to enjoy that workout. 

if you currently walk for 30 minutes every day, you might wanna incorporate short bursts of running in to your walk. this means you might run for a minute and walk for the next 3 minutes and keep repeating these for 8 or 10 times. in addition to burning more calories, this approach can improve your aerobic capacity (cardiovascular fitness improves and you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. 

in a treadmill you can also do intervals. soon after you warm up, you might want to try interval trainings by following, for example, a 1:3 ratio (meaning 1 minute of high intensity followed by 3 minutes of recovery). say you are very comfortable at treadmill speed 7 (making this your recovery speed, i.e. 7 kilometre per hour). you might want to increase your speed to 10 at your high intensity interval and remain there for one minute. soon after the one minute, you bring your speed down, back to speed 7. again after three minutes of recovery, increase your speed to 10 (and keep repeating this for either 8 or 10 times). and yes, thats an interval your just completed!

do know that in order to attain the maximum benefit of interval training, the most effective approach is to rely on science and designing your interval training workout based upon the results of anaerobic threshold testing that includes measuring the blood-lactate of an athlete during intense exercise. and yes, its way too complicated for us, and we’d stick to the more simpler approach. 

last but not least, another good news according to the American College of Sports Medicine is that interval training can burn more calories (during the short bursts of high intensity). having said this, we’d also like to bring to your attention that the best approach will always be the scientific approach where you will understand the various heart rate zones at which one must exercise. not knowing this will always put you at risk! so please dont push yourself way too much! and if you have a chronic health condition or havent been exercising regularly, please do consult your doctor before trying this or any type of interval training. and finally, keep in mind the risk of overuse injury! 

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