As my fitness level has improved during the past few months, I’ve started experimenting with an exercise technique that can help Baby Boomers and seniors save time and greatly improve health.
If you have a doctor’s approval for this, give high-intensity interval training (HIIT) a try. HIIT can take care of one of the most common reasons people have for not exercising—a lack of time. It’s a super-efficient way to get in shape—a physical activity technique that combines short bouts of nearly all-out effort with periods of recovery. A complete HIIT session takes only 15-20 minutes, and it produces as much (or more) benefit as a sixty-minute moderate-intensity walk.
HIIT can be used with many exercise modalities (walking, bicycling, swimming); it adds variety to your exercise routine and can be used by trained athletes as well as beginners. But here’s the best motivation: HIIT allows you to work smarter, not harder, to reap a bucketful of results in a short time.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, health benefits of HIIT include:
• improved aerobic and anaerobic fitness
• better blood pressure control
• improved cardiovascular health
• improved insulin sensitivity (muscles more readily use glucose for energy)
• better cholesterol profiles
• less abdominal fat and fat just under the skin
• more muscle mass
• reversed age-related muscle decline
HIIT creates a significant amount of stress on the muscles, resulting in elevated levels of hormones that increase muscle size. The system trains the body to better tolerate and recover from high-intensity physical activity, and it allows the body to optimally use and store blood sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes.
Before starting a HIIT program, be sure to be medically cleared. Then try this beginning version:
• Warm up with 3-5 minutes of comfortable walking.
• Begin your interval: Walk as quickly as possible for fifteen seconds; then slow way down for a minute. (If you think of exercise intensity on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most effort you could possibly exert, the “quick” session here should be at least an 8.)
• Repeat five times.
• Cool down with 3-5 minutes of slow walking.
Experiment to determine what works best for your fitness level and goals. You can increase the amount of time you spend in the “high intensity” mode, or increase to 8-10 repetitions. But always include a rest period at least as long as the high-intensity portion. Because of the vigorous effect of HIIT, it’s important to limit these sessions to twice a week and allow at least forty-eight hours between.
For more ideas about healthy aging and fitness, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.