Take interval training up a notch. Burn more fat, increase stamina, and prepare for parades.
During parades, “hurry up and wait” becomes a kind of mantra. Marching members must get used to starts and stops and make the most of those pauses and long stretches of sustained action.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is all about short bursts of quick movements with slightly longer rests in between in order to get your heart pumping and max out your cardio. Incorporating a HIIT-style workout into your routine is helpful in that it preps the body for the similar starts and stops of parade season. It will also increase your overall stamina.
HIIT usually involves strength training using your body weight combined with running or walking. Activities could include lunges, squats, pushups, or jumping jacks. Sprint or do as many repetitions as you can in 30 seconds to one minute, then alternate with one to two minutes of a slowed-down version—or rest, walk, or stretch.
HIIT workouts are also great calorie-burning workouts. You can often burn fat without burning muscle. Too often cardio workouts have the negative impact of also burning muscle. We want to retain as much muscle as possible since bodies with greater muscle mass also burn more fat when they are simply sleeping.
Additionally, the fast pace makes HIIT great for people who get bored at the gym.
Grab a buddy to go to a class with you and hold each other accountable, or do it alone at home, which is totally possible, as HIIT workouts do not require any fancy pieces of equipment.
Make sure to effectively use rest periods when you’re working out as well as when you’re waiting to march. Stretch your calves by flexing your toes back against a wall or tree and keeping your heel on the ground. Your back leg should be about two feet behind your front leg, and your feet should not be in one line, but rather tracking parallel. You can also bend over the front leg and take the same or opposite hand to grab your foot and give it a greater stretch by pulling back on it slightly. Hold the stretch for at least three breaths and then roll up and switch legs.
Another good stretch to do is an easy forward fold. With your feet hip’s width apart and toes pointing forward, roll down through your spine, take opposite elbows with your hands and lengthen the crown of your head toward the ground.
As always, be sure to hydrate during any and all exercise—as well as marching functions. And ask your doctor before beginning any new physical activity.