If you’re into the fitness scene at all, you’ve probably heard of “HIIT” (high intensity interval training). The health and fat loss benefits of this style of exercising are numerous – short routines (4-20 minutes) of intense bursts of speed and strength in combination moves that target multiple body parts and your cardiovascular system all at the same time. The result: high calorie burn with total body workout in a very expedient amount of time – who wouldn’t want that? But what if you’re a runner – or better yet, what if you’d like to be a runner but just don’t have the stamina, time, or joints (knees, hips, ankles) to commit to this addictive pastime? That’s where incorporating HIIT to your walk/run is a brilliant way to achieve your running goals.
So here’s how you do it:
1. Pick a route/loop that is about 1 mile in length – if there’s some incline involved (hills) all the more better.
2. Choose a cycle/pattern that works for you: i.e., run for 20 seconds, walk for 10 seconds, repeat; OR run for the length of one song then walk for another song (assuming you’re using an MP3 player, etc.) OR jog for 10 seconds, sprint for 10 seconds, walk fast for 20 seconds, repeat.
3. Add 2-3 lb hand weights for arm toning – during walking portions, perform biceps curls, triceps kickbacks and shoulder presses.
4. Mix it up – trot backwards up a hill; lunge walk for a block; intersperse your walking portion with long jumps, etc.
The mile should take you 10-20 minutes depending upon your speed and terrain, and that’s all you need for this kind of exercise. Even an out-of-shape beginner can handle this – just start with more walking less jogging and slowly build up. Please remember, this is not about running the entire mile – breaking up the heart rate levels is actually a more efficient way to burn calories/fat and is better for your entire body than a relentless 20 minutes of high-impact pounding.
Here’s an extra little nugget for all you dog owners: I take my dog with me 2 x a day for a 15 minute HIIT style run/walk. She gets exercise, I get effective total body exercise and it’s something I have to do anyway for my K9's health (and bladder relief).
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