15 Benefits of Interval Walking
Alternate slow and fast for a better workout!
Walking is for old people, isn’t it?
Interval training has been used by elite athletes for several decades to achieve maximum performance. Recent research suggests that intervals can be added into any form of exercise, even walking. If you’re already exercising, you can add intervals to what you’re already doing – stationary bike, elliptical training, re-bounder jumping, etc. However, if you’re just beginning an exercise program, or coming back from an injury, walking is the best way to increase your fitness with the least possibility of injury.
Michele Stanten, a fitness instructor and editor for 20 years at Prevention magazine, created and tested the Walk Off Weight program. In the study of two dozen women, ages 34 to 63, subjects lost up to 3 times the weight they would have normally lost through traditional, steady-paced walking, shedding up to 14 pounds and trimming 3 inches off their waists in just 4 weeks. The study also showed that calorie burn was increased by up to 100% during and after the workout.
But walking takes too long!
According to the American Council on Exercise, lack of time is the primary reason people give for not exercising; lack of observable results once exercising has started is another big issue. Interval walking is a great way to address both of these issues.
In Sweden, the term for Interval training is Fartlek – speed play. In this kind of training, interval length and speed are based on your own needs and perceptions as you exercise. Each workout is therefore based on how much energy you think you have that day.
The “speed play” method is the system of Interval training that I use. I go out even on days I don’t feel energetic and do what I can while not over-tiring myself, knowing that with this system I will benefit even if I only have energy for a 15 minute workout. I love knowing I have furthered my health goals even on those days I can’t go all-out with exercise.
What’s not to love about the single best thing you can do for your health? The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other makes you healthier, gives you more energy, and makes you younger. Plus, doing it lets you talk with friends, think through problems, and see what’s new in the neighborhood. And if you happen to have some new walking gear, walking lets you show it off.
15 Benefits of Regular Interval Walking
- Leads to fewer heart attacks and strokes.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Creates higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.
- Provides measurable age-reducing effects.
- Makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin.
- Engages your brain’s emotion centers, releasing hormones that decrease cravings.
- Helps reduce chocolate cravings and nix the stress and anxiety that often lead to overeating.
- Nourishes brain tissue and stimulates production of neurons, synapses, and blood vessels.
- Reverses faltering memories in people over age 50.
- Enhances your mood, and may reduce depression and anxiety.
- Improves the quality of your sleep.
- Lowers your risk of arthritis.
- Decreases macular degeneration.
- Reduces cancer up to 50% compared with those who don’t exercise at all.
- Walking has the highest compliance rate of any exercise.
Here is a free Mp3 download of the Interval Walking program that I’ve been using for several years.
As I’ve discussed, there are many ways to do Interval Walking. A suggestion is to walk for 5 minutes at a moderate pace, then alternate 30 seconds as fast as you can with 1.5 minutes of moderate walking. Do this for 20 minutes, then end with 5 minutes of moderate walking to cool down.
- Every other day, because your muscles need recovery time.
- Lower stress
- Increase muscle
- Burns more calories than walking
- Makes walking more interesting
Clicking the button below will take you to a page where you can add a reminder to your calendar for Interval Walking. You must have a Simple Daily Change account to set up calendar reminders.
This Simple Daily Change is also part of the following program combining multiple changes. Clicking the button below will take you to a page where you can view and add the entire program to your calendar.