We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Incorporate sprinting into your workouts for cardiovascular health benefits.
Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
It's well established that endurance exercise strengthens your heart and reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease. However, long bouts of endurance exercise are not the only way to achieve these cardio benefits. Sprinting achieves the same heart health advantages as exercising at a moderate intensity -- but with the added benefit of spending less time in the gym.
Sprint for a Stronger Heart
Sprinting, a form of high intensity interval training, is a cardiorespiratory training method where you alternate short bouts of maximum effort with recovery periods. Sprinting at maximum effort causes your heart to beat rapidly, thereby strengthening your cardiac muscles and improving blood circulation. A strong heart and good circulation are correlated with a longer lifespan and a reduced risk of developing heart disease. Sprinting also helps to reduce body fat and requires less workout time than moderate intensity activities. A study published in "The American Journal of Physiology" found that individuals who did a sprinting workout for 15 to 25 minutes three days a week were able to improve the structure and function of their arteries as much as individuals who exercised five days a week for 40 to 60 minutes at a moderate intensity.
The most traditional form of sprinting is high-speed running. To sprint, run on the balls of your feet and keep a rapid foot turnover. Pump your arms as you sprint and try to keep your upper body relaxed so that your shoulders do not shrug up toward your ears. If you are not a runner there are many other ways to incorporate sprinting into your exercise routine and still reap the heart health benefits. For example, you can sprint when riding a bicycle or swimming in a pool. You can also sprint on cardiovascular machines at the gym -- such as the elliptical -- simply by moving your arms and legs faster. Whatever mode of sprinting you choose, push yourself to work at your maximum effort to achieve the full benefits of the workout.
There are many sprinting workouts you can incorporate into a fitness routine. An effective 20-minute beginner workout is to warm up for five minutes at an easy effort level, perform four 30-second maximum-effort sprints with three minute recovery periods between sprints, and then cool-down with the remaining time. The recovery periods should be done at an easy effort. Aim for an effort level of five or six on a scale of one to 10. As you become fitter and more accustomed to sprinting, you can increase the number of intervals you perform in a workout and decrease the recovery time between intervals.
Consult your physician before incorporating sprinting into your fitness program. While sprinting can be good for your heart, there are a couple caveats. You should avoid sprinting if you have a pre-existing heart condition such as a structural heart defect or a history of heart attacks. You should also avoid sprinting if you have any injuries or are prone to injury. If you are new to exercise, build your fitness with moderate-intensity workouts before incorporating high-intensity sprinting. Since high-intensity sprinting is stressful to the body, it's best to incorporate it in small doses at first, such as one day a week, until your body becomes accustomed to the workload. For optimal health and fitness, alternate sprinting workouts with moderate-intensity workouts.