Don’t just run. Sprint.
When beginning a workout program, one of the most common forms of exercise people start with is running. I know that is what I did several years ago as I began my fitness journey.
Running is one of the most accessible forms of exercise available. It doesn’t require much more than a pair of good running shoes and appropriate attire. Whether it is inside on a treadmill or outside on the pavement, running is an effective form of exercise that can help burn calories and improve your body’s ability to use oxygen for energy.
For me, I started running and then incorporating sprint workouts on the track at least once a week. It helped with weight loss and my half marathon times. I slowly started to click away at the time as I was getting lighter and fitter.
Who doesn’t want to see the results of their hard work? I know I loved it then and continue to love it now as I continue to tweak my journey.
Here are three benefits for you to add sprints to your workouts.
- It burns fat quicker.
There have been countless studies on the effects of sprinting and the majority of them have concluded that sprinting burns fat quicker than long distance running or jogging.
- Sprinting improves your conditioning, circulation and lung function
Sprinting will give you better conditioning so you can run up the stairs or chase after your kids without getting winded. You will have pushed through some hard workouts and will have been winded, but you’ll learn how to apply that to when you chase your kids around.
- It’s a time saver.
Sprint workouts are short and a lot more fun than long, boring cardio workouts. You can be on and off the track in 20 minutes versus that long boring workout where you might not even break a sweat. Who doesn’t want to get a great workout but cut the time it takes?
Taking it up a notch
There is a difference between all-out sprinting where you are moving as fast as your feet can for a certain distance and high intensity training where you have alternate bursts of intense activity with intervals of rest. Both are good, but serve different functions.
I use both to mix up my workouts and burn calories quickly. High intensity training can incorporate a number of different exercises as well as running.
Still not convinced?
Do a quick image search for the winners of the world’s most well known marathons like the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon or the Paris Marathon and the 100-meter sprint in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Do you notice a difference between the athletes? The sprinter has a lot of well-defined, lean muscle, while the marathoner is little more than legs and lungs. If you want to improve muscle definition in your legs, thighs, hips and glutes, sprints should be an essential part of your workout.
Sprints are hard. They hurt. Trust me, there will be moments of doubt when you are in the middle of a sprint workout and you just want to quit. The thoughts of not being able to finish your workout will be all in your head. You can’t give in. You have to push through.
What are your favorite ways to mix up your workouts?
Shalama is a runner and fitness enthusiast living in South Carolina. She has run more than 10 half marathons and one marathon to date with another full scheduled for February 2016. Currently, she is training for her first figure bodybuilding competition to be held in North Carolina this fall. You can follow her journey on her blog – Views From Here, Instagram and Twitter.