According to Dr. Neil Nedley, author of Proof Positive, Depression: the Way Out, and The Lost Art of Thinking, the biggest complaints that newcomers to exercise have are fear of muscle soreness and difficulty breathing. “The fact is,” Nedley says, “when done right, exercise can be an enjoyable way to increase our quality of life and mood. With a proper understanding of I.T., we can realize that the old saying, 'No pain, no gain,' is completely false.”
Sounds great, huh? So what is I.T.? Intermittent Training mixes rest with exercise and accelerates fitness to a high level in a shorter time period, which is why even professional athletes are finding this method of exercise increases their skill and endurance.
Scientific research is showing that pushing harder and harder is not as effective as incorporating rest periods within the exercise time. By adding rest into exercise, we more efficiently build muscle and cardiovascular fitness.
Here is Dr. Nedley's recommendation of how to get started using I.T. :*
1. Begin with 5 to 10 minutes of gentle stretching. Warm up your circulatory system with 5 minutes of slow, comfortable walking at a continuous pace. Now you are ready to begin I.T.
2. At a vigorous pace, do the exercise of your choice for 60 seconds.
3. Rest, but don't stop. Reduce until your heart rate slows slightly. Usually 30 seconds.
4. Begin vigorous pace again for 60 seconds.
5. Rest for 30 seconds.
6. Continue until exercise time is reached. Eventually, your intervals of exercise and rest will change as you improve (e.g., 5 minutes exercise, 30 seconds rest). Continue alternating between very active then milder exercise intervals until your total time is achieved. It is always a good idea to take a 5 to 10 minute cool down after exercise.
To calculate the heart rate that you want to reach during the vigorous portion of I.T., subtract your age from 220. Take that number times .8. When you reach that number during vigorous exercise, that is your cue to gently slow down to the rest portion.
I can attest to the success of this method of exercise. I began using it as a part of the depression recovery program, and found it very useful in keeping me motivated to continue. I could actually achieve success without forcing myself to push harder than I could realistically maintain long term.
Also, keep in mind that “play” is a great source of exercise. And if you notice, when you play basketball, volleyball, garden, or any other form of physical recreation, it is usually a combination of vigorous movement and rest. So if you are already into exercise, try incorporating I.T. into your current plan.
If you are hesitating to exercise, then definitely give I.T. a try!