Interval training (alternating between fast and slow paces) is one of the best ways you can torch calories and strengthen your heart. Even better, if you are someone who easily gets bored with exercise, intervals force your mind to be engaged while also keeping different muscles active. The benefits of interval training are therefore many. Intervals can help:
  • Boost your cardiovascular endurance
  • Keep your mind focused and engaged
  • Work various muscle groups
  • Challenge you in short bursts, adding a bit of a fun gaming element to the workout
  • Improve your performance in activities of daily living and various sports
How you structure your interval training will depend on your level of fitness. Switching between walking slow and then fast qualifies as an interval just as does alternating between walking and running. The time as well as pace of your intervals can also vary depending on your ability, goals, and total workout time. Here's one of my favorite treadmill interval workouts (you can do this on any machine or with any outdoor exercise-elliptical, bike, swimming, stair master, rowing...etc.) when I only have about 30-minutes to spare.
  • Walk at 4.7mph for 5 minutes
  • Run 2 miles at 6.8mph (6.5 on a slow day)
  • Walk for 2 minutes at 4.7mph
  • Run at 8.0 mph for 1 minute
  • Walk at 4.7 for 1 minute
  • Run at 8.0 mph for 1 minute
  • Walk at 4.7 for 1 minute
  • Run at 8.0 mph for 1 minute
  • Walk at 4.7 for 1 minute
  • Cool down for 2 minutes at any slow pace