“Intervals will increase your fitness level and burn more calories over a short period of time than slow-and-steady cardio,” says Janel Shanks, exercise specialist at Wellmark Blue Cross sand Blue Shield’s Well for Life Center.
Just doing the same thing for your whole workout time is far less effective.”
“So, yes, you’ll need to throw more effort into your workout,” says Shanks, “Keep at it, and you’ll feel and see the results.”
The best thing about intervals? “You set the rules,” says Shanks. Varying lengths of work and recovery bring different benefits — so it’s all good.”
“The other great thing about interval training is that most anyone can do it,” she adds. “From the beginner to the elite athlete, you can adapt interval training to your fitness level."
“My advice is to start slow. Get in a good warm-up. Don’t risk injuries or start off too strenuously. Work your way up and listen to your body. If you think you’re overdoing it, slow down.”
Shanks suggests the 30-minute interval routine (shown below) to start with, adjusting as you see fit. Try it with walking, running, or any other exercise equipment or activity you enjoy.
“Even short bursts of activity are better than no exercise,” says Shanks. ”If you can’t get 30 minutes of activity, shoot for a 15- or 20-minute interval routine instead.
Interval walk for beginners
If you’re a walker who wants to increase your walking speed, try this routine at least three times a week:
Over time, increase the amount of time you spend walking quickly, and decrease the amount of time you spend walking at your moderate pace.
Interval walk/run for more advanced walkers
If you’re a walker who wants to start jogging, try this routine at least three times a week:
Over time, increase the amount of time spent jogging, and decrease the amount of time spent walking.
Interval walk with hills
If you’re a walker who wants to melt about 30-percent more calories and tone your lower body, try walking hills. Find a moderately steep incline of at least 1/8 a mile, or on the treadmill, set the incline to at least 7 percent.
Continue increasing the amount of time you spend walking uphill (alternating with downhill walking) throughout the course of your walk.
Interval walk/run/play with the whole family
Get the whole family involved. Come up with creative ways to make physical fitness fun and a time of play for the entire family. Find a safe place for the whole pack, and try these games: