Major advances in exercise physiology in the past five years have revolved around understanding the benefits of interval training, both added to and for some people, in replacement of prolonged exercise.
Please add this interval training to your exercise regimen. You will find that there are major health improvements in blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as reductions in strokes and heart attacks, in people who have done so.
If you are already fit and have an exercise program, you can add interval training during the time you are already exercising, rather than doing it as a separate exercise event. If you are not exercising, then just initiating an interval training program three times a week will be very helpful. If you are older, very out of shape, or very overweight, I suggest that you keep your interval training to a moderate level, and that you push yourself until your pulse rate is approximately 67% of your maximum heart rate. Maximum heart rate is calculated by taking 220 and subtracting your age. 67% of this would be a reasonable goal, in terms of pushing yourself during the intervals.
If you do not have the limitations listed above, pushing your heart rate to 90% of your predicted maximum during the intervals is recommended for maximum benefit from interval training.
Start with 4 minutes warming up, at whatever form of exercise you find convenient or enjoyable. Then push yourself hard for 20 seconds, recover for 2 minutes at a slower pace, push hard for 20 seconds, recover at a slower pace for 2 minutes, push hard for 20 seconds, recover at a slower pace for 2 minutes, then push hard for your final 20 seconds. Total time is 11 minutes and 20 seconds. This constitutes your interval training program. You must do it three times a week to get the benefits.
I hope you enjoy adding the interval training to your regimen as much as I have.
To your best health,
Terry Copperman, M.D.