WPS Health Insurance Blog

Intensity matters—try interval training

Posted by Mark Mitchell

Jan 30, 2014 9:02:00 AM

interval trainingIn the realm of exercise, something is always better than nothing. However, if you’re looking for the best results, new studies show that intensity can play a huge role in success over the long and short term. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to cardivascular exercise training. 

Interval training is defined as an exercise and training program in which each session consists of periods of intense exertion alternating with periods of rest or lighter exertion.

Most people are intimidated when they hear anything about interval training; immediately relating it to athletes. Yes, athletes make interval training a regular part of their routines. But even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, if you do it right, then so can you! 

Here are a few tips to help get you thinking about making interval training part of your exercise regime.

Consult with your physician. Anytime you are looking to increase the intensity or begin a new exercise regime, you want to talk it over with your primary care physician to address any health concerns. Interval training can be done for all populations from cardiac rehab to professional athletes, but you want to make sure you have the appropriate supervision to do it in a safe, healthy manner.

Determine your mode. Interval training can be applied to any type of cardiovascular activity: walking, biking, swimming, running, or any variation. You should use the mode that is safest and best applies to your personal goals.  

Regulate your intensity. You have to determine what intensity is best for you depending on your current fitness level, goals, and previous exercise experience. If you are just starting off, don’t overdo it; a few one-minute intervals may work well. For intensity, it’s best to look at it in terms of percentages. When working hard in an interval session, you should be approaching 90% intensity. Remember to keep in mind that 90% looks a lot different for someone training for a marathon and someone who is looking to shed a few pounds. The best way to determine what intensity is best for you is to work at a level in which you find it challenging to hold a conversation.

Frequency. Interval training, as with any high-intensity activity, is to be done sparingly over the course of a week. Try to mix it into your routine only a few day per week. Below is an example of a moderate- to high-intensity training week. The duration of each interval should be kept to a short timeframe, typically a minute or less.








Run 4 miles

(30 min.)

Upper body weights

Interval Training:

20 min. bike:

1 min. hard,
1 min. easy

3-mile run

(21 min.);

Core exercises

Lower body weights

Interval Training:

15-min. run:

1 min. hard,
1 min. easy

Rest day

HIIT can be hit for your exercise program. Remember to follow the recommendations of your doctor and try to stick with your workout program to see results.

Topics: Wellness