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Plus-Size Fitness Excerpt from Don't Weight
How can I get fit faster?
How can I make my workouts more interesting and fun?
How can I tune in to my body instead of watching the clock?
How can I shorten my workout time, without sacrificing quality?
The answer is INTERVALS !!!
What is an interval? That is simple. An interval is a workout pattern that includes high intensity and then medium intensity. That's all. Not complicated. Just work harder for a while, and then when you need a break, work medium for a while.
How do I know when to work harder and when to back off? Your body will tell you! There is no magic number of minutes to each interval. You do NOT look at a clock. You just listen to your body.
You can include intervals in any type of workout: swimming, biking, lawn mowing, dancing, walking, etc. Whatever activity you are enjoying, change the pace of your activity based on how you feel. Work harder for a while until you need a rest. Then work medium for a while until you have recovered. Then work harder for a while until you need a rest. (When you think about it, isn't this exactly what we do when we have sex?)
Exercising in intervals is a cycle. The cycle is based on internal motivation. You look inside yourself to notice how you feel. You make every choice based on how you feel. There is no external measure or goal at all. Do exactly what feels good to you. Listen to the expert. The expert on you is YOU.
Here is an example of a fitness walk using intervals:
First: Warm-up by walking slowly until you feel a bit warmer and are breathing a bit faster. This usually takes about five minutes. Do not skimp on your warm-up! A good warm-up makes the entire workout more comfortable and more effective.
Then start your intervals: Each interval has two parts
Part 1: Walk at a medium intensity for a while. Medium intensity means you can pass the "talk test". You can talk `while you walk, but you need to take a big breath between phrases. Notice how you feel. Medium intensity is not a challenge. Medium intensity is comfortable. If you need to go slow to find your own individual medium intensity, that is fine. When you have found your own comfortable pace where you pass the "talk test", remember how it feels. You will use that same pace again.
Part 2: Now you are going to walk as fast as you can for as long as you can. This is the high intensity part. Again, listen to your body. Walk as fast as you can staying in good form and posture. There is no set speed. You have to listen to how you feel to decide what is high intensity for you. Stay at high intensity as long as you can. That may be minutes or seconds. That's O.K. When you need a break, go back to medium intensity. Stay at medium intensity until you feel comfortable again.
That is one interval. You can repeat this pattern as many times as you and your body feel are right for you. I have given walking as an example. You can also use interval training with swimming, biking, exercise videos, even housework or yard work.
Remember that you should never feel chest pain. If you get chest pain, cool-down and see your doctor. If you get "a stitch in your side", drop down to moderate or low intensity until it subsides.
Finally, cool-down! Walk slowly for at least five full minutes! Your cool-down is VERY important. Your cool-down is necessary for your safety and to get full benefit from your workout. That's all there is to interval walking, your internally motivated workout.
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