~words Tara Styles used in her blog at some point
As we break into the warmer months of Summer and the daylight gives us space to be out and about, it is in step with nature that we pick up our cardio respiratory operations (aerobic fitness training). At its base, cardio respiratory exercise draws copious amounts of oxygen into the body and bathes the cells in energy, the energy your body needs for effort(s). That is what aerobic fitness training is, breath controlling the amount of oxygen that gets to your muscles, oxygen that fuels the motor of your locomotions.
Meaningful cardiorespiratory fitness gives us the sense that we are in connection with our flame! When you feel in connection with your cardiorespiratory fitness, you know that you ‘can-do.’ It’s the assurance that you can keep up with the herd, young and younger; it’s also the moxie that you can take down the challenge.
What is also good to remember is that Rome wasn’t built in a day. As we shed the darker months of Winter and pare back the less free-range nature of the pandemic, perhaps it is a good time to revisit interval training. Interval training offers a fine interest-factor to the repetitive aspect of effective cardio respiratory exercise, as well as giving us gobs of ways to slide beads all about your fitness abacus! The interval can be used to support a person trying to restore base level endurance after surgery, or it can be used to safely push intensity, or aggressively safely push intensity. Gobs, and gobs of options–all you have to know is your interval training builders.
Interval training is the project of alternating segments of TIME and INTENSITY. The simpler part of the equation is time. You may choose to track time in minutes, as with this example: walk 3 minutes at a regular gait pace and 1 minute at a faster gait pace for a total of 30 minutes. You may choose to track time by landmark, as in this example: on a 400 meter track, walk the straights, run the curves.
When you seek to influence intensity, remember there is a sort of micro/macro aspect. You program for the challenge of effort AND for how long you challenge that effort. Sally wants to increase her happiness walking for several hours to prepare for her European vacation. She wants her body to show up without complaint so she can be present for the sights and experiences of her vacation. She anticipates walking 2-3 hours at a time, which is outside of her life custom currently.
Sally sets up phase 1: walk 45 minutes straight, first phase. That feels solid, she recovers on the same day as the activity, so she shifts to walk 3 minutes at a regular pace, and then walk 2 minutes faster than regular pace, and she does this for 45 minutes. She feels a bit stiff from this shift, but after a couple weeks that is no longer the case. Next she adds 15 minutes more time to this same interval, and finally she switches the interval to more fast walking than regular walking. In Sally’s case, after 3 months of interval training, she feels in her bones that she is ready for a good 2-3 hour segment of touring before taking a break.
With effective interval training, you use your gobs of options to influence your body to some artful outcomes. You increase the amount of oxygen you are taking into the cells of your body, and with consistent demand, the mitochondria will multiply to meet demand and you will have more ability to recruit fuel for your muscles. The greater the density of mitochondria in your muscles, the more oxygenated blood you can connect through that muscle which influences your muscles ability to recover and restore for round-next. Interval training also gives the muscles, bones and connective tissues of the body a better stress-equation. You can condition those tissues with manageable amounts of demand, rather than crush them with constant use that they then make into dysfunctions–like itis’s, fractures, and ruptures. Win/WINNER!
Of course, with all the options there is a case for analysis paralysis. I’d say start with your desire, and try to suss out a plan on paper. If you feel you still have questions as to what intervals to plan for, to help reach your desired goal, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will figure out how to feel good along the way.
In robust health!