Fact - there is a whole lot to love about interval training! "Interval training is a clever way to exercise because it increases your fitness in safe stages," says Diabetic Living exercise physiologist Christine Armarego. In addition, new research suggests that high intensity interval training, or HIIT, can help cancer survivors overcome fatigue. Win-win!
So how can you get started? "The idea is to up the intensity for a short period of time (known as an interval) so your heart rate rises, then returns to a regular pace (where you heart rate comes down, but to a moderate level) to allow you to complete an active recovery,’ says Armarego. "This is repeated throughout the workout and gets you fitter faster, without pushing you so hard that you risk causing stress or injury to your body." Give these a try:
Start by adding intervals of power walking (as fast as you can walk) or jogging for up to 30 seconds. Do this at least six times during a 30-minute walk.
Then, when you get comfortable with interval training, intensify your workout so you’re doing 10-12 speedy intervals over 30 minutes, which evens out to one interval every 2.5-3 minutes. You can time these fast intervals using the stopwatch on your mobile phone, or the second hand on your watch.
Add periods of intensity to your workout. Try these:
1. Flat road: Add in 6-8 of your fastest sprints for 30-60 seconds in a 30-minute workout.
2. Gentle hills: Add in 3-6 gentle hills that allow for a seated climb over a 30-minute workout.
3. Big hills: Add in 2-4 big hills for a standing climb in your 30-minute workout.
When doing a combination of hills and flat roads, use distant landmarks, like houses, to give you something to aim towards during intervals of speed.
Try combining lap swimming with other water exercises. Here’s how:
1. Kicking only Using a kickboard for balance, add a lap of fast kicking every 3-5 laps of a 10-20 lap swim.
2. Arms only Every 3-5 laps in a 10-20 lap swim, use your arms to propel you down the pool, while holding a buoy between your legs to keep you afloat.
3. Sprints Add a half- or full-lap sprint of a stroke, every 3-5 laps for every 10-20 laps.
4. Alternate strokes Add a sprint lap of one stroke, then do 3-5 laps of another stroke.
STAY SAFE TIP: Keep your diabetes management on track by speaking to your GP or exercise physiologist before adding intervals to your workout.