By Dawn Onley
A lot has been written about the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT), which mixes bursts of high-intensity exercise with periods of low-intensity exercise and rest. The short of it is interval training takes less time than traditional cardio, increases metabolism while building up oxygen capacity, and causes our bodies to burn calories, even after we’re done exercising.
The more we do interval training, the better we get at it and the more effective it works. Before long, we’re back in those sexy jeans and fitted tops from a decade ago and looking and feeling great. And really, isn’t that what it’s about, looking and feeling great?
Yesterday, I took advantage of the nice weather and ran up a hill at my fastest speed. While running, I had an epiphany: Interval workouts could also be a great way to approach other areas in life. We need periods when we go all out, tackling things at full force. We need time to slow things down, still getting stuff done, but at a more relaxed, leisurely pace. And our bodies and minds need time to rest.
When we break it up, we get more done.
In essence, interval training works like residual income. After we put in the exercise “investment,” we start reaping the benefits even after the workout is through. We continue to burn calories even while we watch TV. With residual income, we collect checks, even after we stop working.
We can also apply this to daily tasks and to our goals. We can break up our day so that we apply varying degrees of intensity to our tasks. Here’s how:
- High Intensity: Setting a time – like an hour – and working at lightning speed to get as much done in that time period as possible. Shutting off social media, turning off our phones if need be and cranking it out – getting stuff done on the job or checking off weekly or monthly, non-work-related goals.
- Low Intensity: After completing the high-intensity period, we can slow it down to handle routine tasks, like reading and responding to work emails, setting up appointments via phone call, organizing the desk or filing items away.
- Rest: We can use the rest periods to check our social media accounts or grab a quick snack or cup of coffee.
Even after the work day is over, we can apply the HIIT principal to our daily and weekly chores, play time with our kids, and settling down with a glass of wine and a book before bed.
It’s a great way to balance our time. It’s a great way to discipline ourselves. Interval training keeps it interesting and keeps us motivated without causing us to feel drained, stressed or overworked. Ultimately doing it in spurts is more effective and less daunting.
In the future, I’ll be employing HIIT in areas outside of exercise. I’ve seen how well it works with fitness. It’s now time to direct it to other areas for optimal results at work, at home, and to conquer my dreams.