High-intensity training can dramatically improve an existing exercise routine and help an individual avoid hitting a plateau. The main goal of high-intensity training is to elevate the exerciser's heart rate beyond where it would normally go with low-intensity exercise like walking or jogging. Quick bursts of activity at a high heart rate burn more calories per minute than a sustained effort at a lower intensity and can even improve metabolic function so that the exerciser continues to burn more calories after the workout has ended. Any existing fitness routine can be adapted to incorporate principles of high-intensity training.
For cardiovascular activities like walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, adding intervals to a typical workout will increase the intensity, burn more calories, and make the workout more beneficial. After a 10-to-15 minute warm-up, alternate between one minute of higher speed (practically a sprint) and one minute of recovery (a very easy pace) for five cycles, or ten minutes total. Finish the workout with a 10-to-15 minute cool-down at an easy pace. Over time, increase the number of cycles to ten so that the workout never becomes too easy. This will ensure that the exerciser consistently achieves positive results.
Another way to add high-intensity training to a cardiovascular workout is to add basic strength training calisthenics like sit-ups and push-ups. During a 30-minute walk or bike ride, stop every ten minutes and do a set of 20 sit-ups and 10 push-ups. This will increase the heart rate and thereby the intensity of the workout and will also help increase strength and improve muscle tone. High-intensity training does not require any specialized equipment beyond a pair of walking or running shoes and a desire to increase the benefits of exercise. Unlike some fitness programs, it is based on perceived effort and individual heart rate and can be adapted for all individuals. To achieve a higher level of health and fitness, try incorporating high-intensity training into your current fitness routine.