New Year’s Challenge: Change Up Your Cardio Intervals

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Mix things up! Learn about cardio intervals and how to make the most of them when you work out.

Keep up with the Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong You Challenge here and on our Facebook page.

If you go to SilverSneakers classes, you might notice the intensity changes throughout the class, so you might feel like you’re breaking a sweat for a few minutes, then cooling down right afterward — rinse and repeat. You may already be doing this yourself if you change up your speed during your daily walks.

Varying your effort level during a workout is known as intervals, and research shows they have plenty of fitness-boosting benefits. A study in the journal Sports Medicine looked at high-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) in people aged 65 and older. Researchers found that this strategy can bring many health advantages, including improved physical function, focus and attention, blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, and less belly fat.

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How to Use the 5 Exercises to Build a Cardio Interval Workout

Today’s activity shows you how to add intervals in a short exercise sequence that you can do at home or at the gym. SilverSneakers trainer Shannon Thigpen gives you some easy, simple moves that you can mix into your regular routine or use as a movement snack anytime you feel like being active.

Press play to practice the exercises Shannon recommends:

  • Exercise #1: Step or run in place
  • Exercise #2: Step forward and back
  • Exercise #3: Shuffle side-to-side
  • Exercise #4: Forward lunges
  • Exercise #5: Punches

To turn these moves into a complete workout:

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  • Warm up for 2 to 3 minutes — try these 7 warm-up exercises.
  • Do each exercise for 30 to 50 seconds at a moderate-intensity — where you’re working hard but still able to talk — followed by 10 to 20 seconds of light movement, like walking in place.
  • When you’ve done each exercise, repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times.
  • Don’t forget to breathe!
  • Finish with a cool-down — try the 6-Minute Post Workout Stretch here.

As always, safety is key. Get your doctor’s OK before beginning a new exercise program. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Love this and want more? Take a SilverSneakers LIVE Cardio Interval (Express) Class!

This 15-minute athletic class will give your heart a boost with aerobic interval training. No equipment needed. View the schedule and RSVP here.

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