Some time ago, a good friend recommended that I try a more intense interval training program on a stationary bike to improve my fitness. Studies had shown excellent gains with the approach. Unfortunately, it was waaay too intense for me! I’ve had two surgeries for Atrial Fibrillation, and a more moderate approach seemed prudent. Fortunately, I found a safer and perhaps more effective alternative.
In a 2007, Dr. Hiroshi Nose at Shinshu University in Matsumoto, Japan began to develop walking programs that modified the intensity of interval training but still achieved meaningful results. The program included walkers from the ages 44 to 78 and featured three minutes of fast walking at a pace of 6 or 7 on a scale of 10, followed by three minutes of easy strolling at an exertion rate of about a 4. This is repeated for 30 minutes. He found that three of these workouts a week was best. The workout can also be broken up into three, ten-minute sessions throughout the day. After five months, the experimental group showed significant improvement in their aerobic fitness, leg strength and blood pressure readings, while the control group that walked at a continuous, moderate pace (equivalent to about a 4 on the exertion scale) made negligible improvements.
The great thing about Dr. Nose ‘s work is that he did a follow-up two years later and found that 70% of the walkers with whom his researchers remained in contact stayed with the program. They kept or improved on their former health gains. Those who quit cited family, health or job issues as reasons for stopping the program. Rarely, did any of the walkers complain that the program was too difficult.
I have begun this program myself and have been pleasantly surprised at how manageable it is. If you want to increase your fitness and health gradually and safely, Dr. Nose’s program might be the answer. I have added my weighted StrataSoles® to the workout for more resistance, and I anticipate good gains over the next few months. Research has shown that adding resistance builds strength and endurance, and that is what you’ll get with StrataSoles®.