MAXIMIZE your cardio...
How is your exercise plan going so far, this year? Are you starting to progress toward some of your goals?
Whether you are crushing goals or need a hand to jump back on the bus, I’m here. There are days when schedules don’t work out or energy levels are too low and it simply doesn’t happen. We have all been there.
If fitting workouts in can be difficult, let’s make sure what you do get in is EFFECTIVE. Two of the most important factors when fitting exercise into your schedule is being effective and EFFICIENT. Choosing the right exercises and planning it all out helps.
One way to get great results with cardio is to do interval training. Let’s take a minute to talk about WHY intervals are so effective...
In everything we do, our body tries to keep homeostasis. Remember that word from high school science? According to Merriam-Webster, homeostasis is the tendency for the conditions inside the body to stay pretty much the same even when outside environmental conditions change. In other words, our body wants homeostasis so it can be lazy and do less work. When exercising, our body tries to maintain homeostasis with our heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. The body’s goal is to reach a steady state. Meaning it can work less if the conditions it faces remain the same.
Want to see a change in your body? You need to challenge it. Try keeping your body from reaching the steady state and staying there. Make your body work harder with intervals. Research shows the body typically reaches steady state within 2 minutes.
Ok, great to know. How do you incorporate this?
Change the speed of your exercise. If you are running, do speed intervals. If you are on the bike or elliptical, vary your speed every 2-5 minutes. You will feel the difference of your body being challenged versus a typical workout of 30 minutes at a steady constant speed.
Interval training has been backed by years of research. The “new” name for this type of exercise is High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. I’m sure you have done one of these workouts before, but maybe you didn’t know WHY it was such a kicker. The intensity of your intervals is another factor you can change up for results. To start out, simply work on changing your speed.
Take these tips and try it out this week. It doesn’t matter where you have been with exercise, only what you do today and the steps you take each day. Enjoy every day of being active and be PROUD of what your body can do. You are unstoppable.
Looking for a strength training program to compliment your cardio? The Start Line program will take you from inactive to in-shape in 8 weeks. This is great for anyone who has been logging long mileage and not fitting in much strength or is simply getting more active again.
See you at the Start Line!
Written by: Dr. Shari, Orthopedic Physical Therapist, Exercise Scientist