Fitness Programs and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

I’ve always been a little leery about the extreme exercise/fitness programs.  I wonder about the physical stress and risks involved for all but an already very fit person, and don’t see the programs as being sustainable over time.  “One size fits all” extremes aren’t good.  They encourage people to push themselves too far, just to keep up.  A better choice is a program that pays close attention to the individual person’s present health, condition, and age, plus has variety and is realistic.

Each of us is an individual and we need a program that (1) starts where we are and (2) progresses and a healthy speed.  As usual, getting good competent advice is a good thing.   If you have, or suspect that you have, health issues/conditions, your physician, and a physical therapist would be a good route to take.   An experienced, certified trainer (with experience in your age/condition type — seniors, pregnant women, handicaps) is also a good approach.

Whether or not a program is sustainable certainly has to do with a person’s commitment and motivation, but it also has to do with accessibility, and workability.  We have to put our health in a priority position as our most valuable asset, but we also have to be sensible — figuring out how we can make a program work and be sustainable in terms of our family, work, and cost.  There are lots of options in putting together a regimen that will work for you, so there’s really no excuse not to take care of ourselves.

Variety is also an often-overlooked aspect.  When you’re talking to your therapist or trainer, ask about variety — outdoor and indoor options, at the gym or at home, structured routines, dancing, swimming, sports, etc…   It shouldn’t be boring!  …just consistent and appropriate for you.  Make a list of all the options and plan a balance of them into your schedule for each week.

And lastly, know that having your own exercise/fitness program is not an option.  We tend to ignore our body when it tries to warn us, and then we suffer the consequences.  Take care of yourself!

In this video, presented by Andrew Weil, Dr. Jim Nicolai demonstrates one example of a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine.  Studies support the increased effectiveness of the interval approach, but note Dr. Nicolai’s explanation of how this principal applies to all sorts of applications and levels of intensity catering to the individual.  The video is under 11 minutes, and worth understanding.

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