Everyone wants to improve their fitness. Interval running is my preferred running method, and it allows me to maximise my fitness efforts in a short time frame.
Interval running offers numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, endurance, speed, and power, as well as reducing boredom and promoting fat loss. It is a good way to get started as a beginner and also a great way for mor experienced runners to mix up their routemen.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of interval running and why you should give it a try.
What is Interval Running?
Interval running is a type of cardiovascular exercise where you alternate between periods of high-intensity running with periods of low-intensity exercise or rest. This type of exercise can be performed on a treadmill, track, or outdoor trail. The duration and intensity of each interval can be customised to meet your personal preferences and fitness level.
How to Get Started with Interval Running
Before starting any new exercise routine, it is important to check with your doctor or a healthcare professional. This is especially important for people with any pre-existing health conditions. Once you have the green light, it is time to start interval running.
Here are a few tips to get started:
Warm-up: Start with a 5 to 10-minute warm-up to prepare for the high-intensity exercise.
Sprint: Sprint at your maximum effort for a short amount of time, usually between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Recovery: Slow down to a light jog or walk for a short amount of time, usually between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Repeat: Repeat the sprint and recovery cycle a few times, usually between 5 to 10 sets.
Cool-down: Perform a 5 to 10-minute cool-down to lower your heart rate and prevent injury.
Benefits of Interval Running
Interval running has a number of benefits. Here are some of the benefits of interval running:
Interval running can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day. This means your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate even after the workout is complete.
Burns More Calories
Interval running can help you burn more calories in less time than other running types. High-intensity exercise requires more energy and burns more calories per minute than low-intensity exercise.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Interval running can improve cardiovascular health by increasing the heart's strength and efficiency. High-intensity exercise can improve the heart's stroke volume, which means it can pump more blood with each beat.
Interval running can improve endurance by training your body to work at high-intensity levels for longer periods. By pushing your body beyond its comfort zone, you can increase your overall fitness level.
Increases Speed and Power
Interval running can increase speed and power by improving the efficiency of the body's energy systems. High-intensity exercise can improve the body's ability to produce and use energy, which can lead to faster running times and increased power.
Interval running can reduce boredom. The variety and intensity of intervals can keep your workouts exciting and challenging, preventing boredom and encouraging you to push yourself further.
Requires Less Time
Interval running requires less time than other running exercises. A 20-minute interval running session can provide more cardiovascular benefits than a 60-minute steady-pace running session.
Promotes Fat Loss
Interval running can promote fat loss by increasing the body's fat-burning capacity. High-intensity exercise can increase the body's production of growth hormone and testosterone, which can lead to increased fat metabolism.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Interval running can improve insulin sensitivity, which means your body can better regulate blood sugar levels. This can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Helps in Maintaining Healthy Body Weight
Interval running can help in maintaining a healthy body weight by burning more calories and promoting fat loss. It can also prevent muscle loss.
Improves Mental Health
Interval running can improve your mental health by reducing stress and improving mood. It can increase the amount of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that can improve mood and reduce stress.
Potential Risks and Precautions
Interval running can be challenging and may pose some risks, especially for those who are not accustomed to high-intensity exercise. Here are some precautions to take before starting interval running:
You should check with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
Start slow and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the intervals.
Wear appropriate footwear and clothing to prevent injury.
Warm up properly to avoid injury.
Stay hydrated and fuel your body with adequate nutrition.
Listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Interval running can be a fun and effective way to improve overall fitness levels and burn more calories in less time. So, give interval running a try and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.