AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, I like intense intermittent exercise. I can get much of the value of longer exercise episodes in fifteen minutes. Since the body likes habit and routine, High Intensity Interval Training is a way to keep throwing change at the body. It may resent the change, but it does improve. Change is good.  

This morning I had a 9:00 AM patient, so I needed to leave the house by around 8:15. When was I going to exercise? Not a problem! I have an app on my phone, 7 MWC, which gives me 12 different exercises in seven minutes. It is equal, the research claims, to a twenty or thirty minute exercise routine.

The key, of course, is thirty seconds of intense, as-close-to-one-hundred-percent as possible. The rest periods are only ten seconds, to this is basically a Tabata design. Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. It allows very short rest periods. It is pretty intense but I am done in seven minutes. Good deal.

Last summer I ran a 5K local race. I haven’t run for many years and frankly I was never a fast runner. At my best I could clock eight minute miles, but I could do that for five or ten miles, so I got good aerobic training. Now I run intervals a couple of times a week, thirty seconds intense and one minute recovery. Eight of those takes me about twelve minutes. Then I get back to serving my readers and seeing patients.

Well, I finished the race in pretty lousy time, about thirteen minute miles. The time was a bit under thirty eight minutes. I did finish second in my age group. I also finished last in my age group. Ha! I had a good laugh about that. I thought if I could knock a minute per mile off, I could beat the old geezer that beat me last year. Race of the geezers. What a sight!

So I decided I would lengthen my intervals. I would move out to forty-five seconds.

I went out with great hope. I started my first interval. At forty seconds, I was pretty much done! I think I did six, not eight intervals, and each time I was hitting the wall at forty seconds. 

It gets more and more difficult to improve fitness the older I get. My body fights me each step. 

Learn from me.

During the years I had arthritic knees, I let up on exercise. Even going down stairs was very painful. With my new knees, I have lost fifteen pounds and feel great. I look better too. Don’t do that. Start doing even daily brisk walks. Your body like to be active. 

Get fit now, and start varying your workouts from short and intense to longer and lower intensity. You owe it to your family, you owe it to your community. We don’t need a bunch of shuffling geezers who aren’t contributing. We need geezers who can run a 5K, who can go to work every day, who can volunteer and make their town a better place. You have a patriotic duty to be like me, use little or no medical services, keep paying taxes to help the people who do need medical services. Exercise and other lifestyle changes open that future to you. Retirement is not good for us. Activity enhances mental health and physical health. Where’s the down side? 

The human body loves routine, but the human mind like variety and change. So my body and my mind are pretty much at war with each others. Tomorrow I will do an eight-repetition interval run. I will try to run at 100% for forty-five seconds. Well, we will see. The body won’t like it, but if I can make the brain be in charge, I’ll have that stretch. I will push up my interval times to a minute or more. It is secret I didn’t know in my thirties and forties. Intervals raise your speed over distance. I may not get back to eight minutes but I can definitely speed up. 

This summer, I’ll be the first place geezer!