After you are used to thirty minutes of continuous aerobic training, introducing aerobic intervals will enhance your workout.
This is done by doing the exercise at a comfortable pace and then increasing the intensity for a short period, then reverting back to the less intense level of exercise once again.
For example, you could do four minutes of cardio where you are able to talk with ease at that pace, and then increase your pace for one minute to the intensity level where it is difficult to have a conversation. After you complete the one minute at the faster pace, revert back to four minutes of cardio on the previous level; and so forth.
You can decrease or increase the intervals based upon your fitness level. The goal of these intervals is to both improve aerobic efficiency and improve your ability to utilize fat as fuel at the faster pace, and to add variety to the exercise program.
The use of an ipod or music player can be another simple tool that makes performing an aerobic interval workout very simple and more enjoyable, while walking, jogging, cycling, elliptical machine or treadmill.
1. Make a a continuous playlist with 5-10 of your favorite songs. Most songs are approximately 3 minutes in duration, the playlist will most likely be 15-30 minutes long.
2. Identify the chorus of each song and commit to increasing the pace of the exercise during the chorus. After the chorus is finished, you can revert back to the original pace of the exercise. Typically, chorus segments of most songs last about 20-45 seconds.
As you progress in your endurance capabilities, more songs can be added to the playlist to increase the duration of the exercise session.
Remember to warm up for 3-5 minutes and cool down for 3-5 minutes by simply doing the exercise at a slow pace.
* See ACE Health Coach manual, Chapter 17, Exercise Program Design