HIIT’s So Easy: How High-Intensity Interval Training Can Start with Walking

You’ve probably heard all about the amazing benefits of high-intensity interval training — faster fat burning and increased calorie burn both during your workout and for hours after among them. But the simple fact is that some of the exercises typically used in HIIT (Think: burpees, squat thrusts, etc.) can be tough to perform correctly at high speeds, especially if you’re new to exercise, returning after a long hiatus and/or need to stay low impact for your joints.

The good news is that a recent study found that the best way to get started with HIIT is by walking. A focused power walk is one of the simplest and most practical ways to incorporate this type of interval work into your regular exercise program.

To help you get started, here’s an outline for a program you can try on your next walk. This works well both outdoors or on the treadmill.

As you build your fitness level, try shortening the length of your steady pace intervals and working at a higher intensity for longer periods of time. (Feel free to adjust the length of your intervals as needed.) If, for example, you aren’t able to fully catch your breath during your recovery period, you may need to take more time in between your work intervals as you boost your stamina. And, as you become fitter, the recovery intervals can be eliminated or shortened, so feel free to go right into your steady state interval when ready.

Warmup (3 minutes): Walk at an easy, comfortable pace

Interval Set (5 reps):

  • Steady State (3 minutes):Walk briskly, enough that your breathing is elevated, but you can still talk easily.
  • High-Intensity Interval (1 minute):Walk as quickly as you possibly can. At this pace your breathing should be very labored; talking is difficult.
  • Recovery (1 minute):Walk at a comfortable pace, and focus on catching your breath.

Cooldown (2 minutes): Continue to walk at an easy, comfortable pace. (Feel free to add in a few of your favourite stretches during this time if you desire.)


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