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Interval Training

Want to increase fitness without increasing workout time? Take a cue from pro athletes who optimize athletic performance with interval training. 

Interval training is the practice of alternating bursts of intense activity with low-intensity recovery. Instead of jogging at an even pace, for example, try picking up the pace on alternating minutes. Studies have shown interval training improves fitness in less time than traditional endurance workouts.

Switch it up

There are different variations of interval training. Consider trying these:

Standard (alternating intervals)

  • 5 minute warm-up/jog
  • 1 minute high-intensity run, 1 minute walk, repeat 6-8 times
  • 5 minute cool-down/jog

Pyramid (climbing, then descending intervals)

  • 5 minute warm-up/jog
  • 30 second high-intensity run, 1 minute walk
  • 45 second high-intensity run, 1 minute walk
  • 60 second high-intensity run, 1 minute walk
  • 45 second high-intensity run, 1 minute walk
  • 30 second high-intensity run, 1 minute walk
  • 5 minute cool-down/jog

Adapt the approach to cycling, swimming or whatever activity you like best. Vary the timespan of intensity and recovery periods to suit your fitness level. For a more professional approach, seek the help of a personal trainer to develop a training schedule that targets your needs specifically.

Take it easy

Lastly, don’t overdo it. Interval training can be tough on your body, so be sure to allow a day or two of rest between sessions to avoid setbacks like fatigue and overuse injuries. Also, if you have any questions about your ability to train or if you have an existing medical condition, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.