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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Heart Health for Truckers on the Road: How Interval Training Can Help

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The following is a guest post courtesy healthline.com and Kristeen Cherney. Links provided:

Heart Health on the Road: How Interval Training Can Help


Driving, like other sedentary jobs, can make exercising challenging when you’re on the road. While you can’t wait to stretch your legs after a long drive, you may feel too exhausted to commit to an hour-long workout. Odd hours can increase such difficulties. However, you don’t necessarily need an hour at a time in order to gain the benefits of exercise. According to Medline Plus, you can reap such benefits with 10-minute intervals. Focusing on interval training can help keep you and your heart healthy while on the road.

What is Interval Training?

Interval training refers to an exercise routine that focuses on short, frequent workouts as opposed to one long workout at once. These workouts are also performed at a higher intensity so you get the most out of them. You may hear of interval training among athletes looking to build endurance—this method especially comes in handy during competitive sports. Contrary to popular belief, interval training is not exclusive to seasoned athletes. Short bouts of exercise work well for many adults looking to fit in time throughout the day to work out without dedicating an hour or more at a time. As a driver, you don’t have the luxury of standing up and doing long workouts whenever you feel like it. Interval training fits in well because you can perform the exercises effectively during short breaks.
Interval training offers benefits beyond fitting exercise into a tight schedule. In fact, more frequent workouts have the potential to rev up the metabolism more than a single long workout. This is because both your heart and breathing rates increase more often throughout the day. As a result, you burn more calories, too. Frequent bursts of exercise has an added benefit of maintaining energy and helping you “wake up” without relying on caffeine. Such benefits may be especially useful if you have rotating hours.

Types of Interval Exercises for Drivers

Interval training focuses on short bouts of intense exercises, which is good for short breaks from sitting. These types of workouts don’t require any equipment or special gear to get started. In fact, one of the best workouts to begin with is a brisk walk. The Mayo Clinic recommends walking at a normal pace and then increasing to a fast pace every 30 seconds. Depending on your comfort level, you can even go as long as three minutes at a higher intensity. As you become stronger, try jogging in place of speed-walking.
Other types of interval training exercises can include:
  • a set of jumping jacks
  • bicep curls while walking (keep dumbbells in the truck)
  • jump rope
  • alternating push-ups with sit-ups
  • leg squats with a medicine ball
Starting with interval training is a good way to add regular movement to your daily routine. This doesn’t mean you have to discount longer, moderate-intensity exercise altogether. As you build stamina, consider a few long workouts a week for aerobic benefits, even if it’s a quick 20-minute walk at a time.

Why Exercising Should be a Priority

Exercise is important for everyone. Since more and more jobs now require long periods of sitting, it’s important to consciously add workouts throughout the day. Among the many benefits of regular exercise include:
  • heart health maintenance
  • better weight management
  • muscle and bone strengthening
  • better mood
  • decreased risk for chronic illnesses
Since interval training has a high intensity, it’s important that you start off slow and gradually increase the time and endurance as you become stronger. You should always fit in a warm-up and a cool-down, even if they’re only 30 seconds each. Doing so will protect your heart and other muscles. You may consider wearing a heart rate monitor and checking with your doctor before trying interval training. Above all else, it’s important to get moving for better health.
Author Bio: Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who also has a certificate in nutrition. Her work has been published on numerous health-related websites. Previously, she worked as a communications and marketing professional. Kristeen holds a BA in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University, and is currently pursuing an MA in English with a concentration in rhetoric and cultural studies. When she's not writing or studying, she enjoys walking, kick-boxing, yoga, and traveling.

Resources

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, June 12). Travel Workout: Fitness Tips for Business Travelers. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/exercise/ART-20044177?p=1

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