Whether you have been exercising for a long time or are just starting out, you can get more out of your cardio workout by adding interval training. This will boost your heart rate, metabolism and burn more calories!
Interval training is quite simply adding bursts of extra effort. It is taking an aerobic workout ( aerobic meaning that you can produce enough oxygen to meet the muscles demand)and interspersing anaerobic intervals. (anaerobic meaning that your muscles are using more oxygen than you can supply and therefore have to be much shorter in length.)
It may sound like you have to be an athlete in order to do this kind of exercise, but the best thing about intervals is that they are easily adapted to individual fitness levels and needs.
For example, if you have just started a walking program you can pick two spots on your walk – say between 2 mail boxes – and walk a little faster between those 2 points.
If you run outside or on a treadmill, cycle or use an elliptical you can do the same – just increase your speed for a short and then go back to your original speed.
Intervals do not have to be exact and should only last for as long as you can sustain the increased pace.
They are also a great way to monitor your progress. You may start out with only one interval segment in your program and then progress to having two. You could then see if you can increase the length of the interval segment – I would suggest you do this a few seconds at a time, and again only for as long as you feel comfortable with.
Try not to let your heart rate drop too low between intervals. If this happens reduce the time or intensity of your intervals.
You can play around creating your own intervals or many machines with preset programs.
As with all exercise, try and make it fun!