Today, let’s talk about basic interval training, because you really don’t have to be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of interval training. Interval Training is when you alternate between bursts of intensive effort and slower recovery periods. In fact, by doing interval walking for a mere 20 minutes every other day, you can boost your metabolism into high gear so that you burn more calories and fat in less time than if you were working out at a steady pace; the higher the intensity of the exercise, the longer the afterburn–that is, you will continue to burn more fat and calories even while at rest!
Things to think about:
~Wear shoes that will give you proper support: walking shoes, cross-training shoes, or running shoes. And choose synthetic athletic socks over cotton ones because they wick away moisture and keep your feet dry and blister-free.
~Begin each session with a short walk at a slow or moderate pace. This allows your muscles to warm up before you start doing your intervals.
~Be mindful of maintaining good posture while you’re walking. Hold your abdominal muscles in tight. Keep your chest lifted and your chin parallel to the ground (leading with your chin while walking can result in neck and back pain). ~With each step, strike the ground from heel to toe and feel your buttocks (glutes) contract. This will help strengthen your buttocks and the backs of your legs as you walk.
~Wear a watch or carry a stopwatch to keep track of time so that you can complete the designated number of intervals per session in about 20 minutes. ~Remember that doing a little is better than nothing. Do what you can at first, and then gradually increase your periods of intensity and total distance.
~Once you’ve mastered interval training and enjoyed the results, you may be tempted to push yourself to do even more. Don’t do so, as your body needs to rest and recover on alternate days of the week.
~On the days that you’re not doing higher intensity interval training, be sure to do a 15- to 20-minute recreational walk when you have the time.