Fitness Tip: Spice up winter outings with intervals

by: Nancy Bywater, PT, OCS, CMPT, Mt. Stuart PT/Balance Point Health & Fitness

We have been having a terrific snow year this year.  Here is an interval program that can spice up your midwinter skis!  Partake and reap the rewards.   
By now, we should all have our base down. Below is a basic interval program. An interval workout is bouts of high intensity peppered into your aerobic range. If you are interested in increasing speed, or race performance, this is the workout for you.  Another upshot is that interval training has been shown to be more effective than straight aerobic workouts in managing stress related hormones, belly fat, and may be useful in decreasing markers related to cardiovascular disease
Here is a basic program.  One key item to consider is that recovery time is just as important as the more challenging intervals. Our bodies can build themselves best with bursts of intensity followed by recovery.
Establish your max Heart Rate (HR). We will use the guideline for this (220-your age). If you have been tested, use that number, as it will be more accurate.
  1. Begin with 4-6 intervals at 60-80% of your max HR (i.e. 220-40 yr. old=180= Max HR for a 40 yr. old), (180 x .60=108, 180x.80=144).  If you are unsure where to start, error on the side of the lower HR.
    • These intervals will be 2-3’ in duration, with a recover of 3-5’ following.  When you are doing your intervals, you should feel that you are working hard, and that you DO NOT want to carry on a conversation, during recovery you should be able to chat comfortably with your workout partners, and feel as if your exertion is comfortable. The recovery time is a great time to put your focus into technique.  Begin with 4-6 repetitions.  If this feels easy, increase your HR level closer to the 80%.  When 6 repetitions are feeling good (not easy), increase the reps up to 8 intervals. Remember, the interval is when you are stressing your system, making it hungry for oxygen; it is this stress that facilitates the physiological cascade that improves aerobic efficiency.  The recovery is the “refueling” after the stress.  The better you do with recovery, the better your body will handle and adapt to the stressors.
    • Do this program 2X/week. 
    • Have fun with this workout, it will add a little spice to your midwinter outings!!!
10 second counts for HR/min: