If you want to enjoy good health, improve flexibility and build strong muscles, sprinting may be something you’ll want to look into.
Different from running or just jogging, sprinting is a completely different animal. It uses specific muscle groups and requires a different level of preparation and conditioning before starting.
Most likely you’ve heard of High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as it’s all the rage these days. There’s also circuit and basic interval training, which are all slightly different. However, their core concept is related; short workouts to burn more calories.
For reference, here’s an easy HIIT workout for those that get bored easily:
Although interval training is a “little” different, as most call for periods of rest in between bursts of energy, for example (which leads us to our topic); sprinting and the health benefits.
Sprinting reduces stress, improves heart health and reduces blood sugar. Sprinting has both physical and mental benefits so it can be a smart way to improve mental and physical health.
Below are some of the health benefits of sprinting.
Sprinting is the ultimate weight loss exercise because you get both immediate and long-term results when you sprint. Sprinting helps you burn fat and build muscles. In effect, you lose fat without losing body mass. Even after the sprinting session is over, your body continues to burn fat so you get lasting benefits from this exercise.
Improves Heart Health
Sprinting gives you great cardiovascular benefits. When you sprint, your heart pumps blood faster and this strengthens your heart. In addition, this exercise improves circulation and reduces blood pressure.
Sprinting is a wonderful endurance training exercise. Going at maximum speed when you sprint increases the time it takes fatigue to set in and amplifies your maximum oxygen uptake. Sprinting helps preserve muscle glycogen and prolongs the capacity for work.
Builds Mental Toughness
Sprinting is all about pushing the limits of endurance and achieving your goals. You can relate this to your business or personal life. You have learned the art of succeeding against the odds from sprinting. You can apply this to the business and personal world so that you keep going even when the situation is far from ideal.
Sprinting toughens the mind as well as the body. When sprinting, I often find myself wanting to stop, but try to push through to the next time interval. Often I’ll look ahead to the next street or telephone pole and push myself to “just get to that next goal.” It’s an exercise in pushing through during tough times even when we think we have nothing left to give. It builds mental toughness.
Improves Glucose Control
You are not likely to become diabetic if you sprint regularly. This is because this exercise reduces blood sugar levels. When you sprint, your body gets rid of the excess sugar in the blood so this keeps your blood sugar within safe limits always.
Sprinting produces endorphin’s. These are chemicals in the brain that give you a “feel good” sensation. Endorphins act as natural painkillers and stimulate relief and confidence after a successful workout session.
As you can see, sprinting has many benefits but you cannot rush into this form of exercise without adequate preparation. If you have not been exercising regularly for a long time, you should consult a medical doctor before you take up sprinting. Your medical expert will run some checks and determine if you are up to the task before you start sprinting. It also makes sense to take up some exercises to prepare your body for sprinting.
3 Warm Up Exercises to Get You Started
Three exercises to get started if you’re not physically fit enough to start sprinting are brisk walking, swimming and yoga.
Brisk walking will prepare you for sprinting because it works on different muscle groups. Brisk walking will strengthen your spine and your hip muscles. It is also good for your waist, shoulders and upper thighs.
Swimming is an excellent all-round exercise. It trains your back, shoulders, hips and upper arms. Depending on your pool length, start with a single lap (down and back), rest for 30 seconds and repeat. Do this for 30 minutes. I also like to alternate this with a lap of walking, raising the legs high on each step. The water creates a nice resistance and helps strengthen leg muscles that you’ll using while sprinting.
Yoga is great for you because it improves flexibility and aids concentration. Yoga is a complete body workout and can be done about anywhere. Here’s a nice 20 minute Yoga workout for beginners.
Try these 3 exercises for a few weeks if you need to before you begin sprinting exercises. And as always, consult a physician before starting any physical exercise regimens.
4 Sprinting Exercises for Beginners
Sprinting toughens the mind as well as the body. Here are 4 sprinting exercises to get started on a fitter body and tougher mind.
Simple Interval Sprints
Interval Sprint 1 (30 minutes)
Start out by walking for 5 minutes, this get’s the blood pumping and warms up the muscles. I tend to stretch as well prior to this.
Run at 50% effort for 1 minute. Walk for 30 seconds. Increase your effort each time, walking for 30 seconds in between each interval. Do this until your sprinting at max speed.
I generally do this workout if I only have 30 minutes and just want to really burn some calories and work up a good sweat.
Interval Sprint 2 (40 minutes)
If you have a bit more time, here’s another one I like to do. It takes about 40 minutes or longer.
Warm up with a 10 minute walk, then run for 3 minutes at about 75% effort. Recover (walk) for 3 minutes; repeat this 3 time followed by a 10 minute cool down walk.
Resistance Hill Sprints
Find a hill or using a treadmill on an incline, sprint for 40 seconds then jog for 1 minute. Sprint again on include for 30 seconds followed by another minute of walking or jogging. Continue this for 10 intervals. This can easily be modified based on how you feel, time or desired intensity levels.
Push-Up and Sprint Workout
This is one of my favorites; it get’s the upper body into the mix and I always come away feeling pumped and exhausted at the same time.
Sprint at about 50% effort for 30 seconds, drop down and do 10 pushups (or 5 if you’re just starting out). Take a 15-20 second rest, then repeat the sequence. I like to aim for 7 rounds, but 5 is all I can do sometimes. I like to find (when I can) some inclined areas to do my push-ups on; like facing down on a small grass hill or with my fee up on a bench or curb (obviously stay out of the road).
100 Yard Sprints
If you live near a track or can measure out, even roughly, 100 yards, this is pretty simple.
Warm up (Always!) for 5-10 minutes with a brisk walk. Sprint 100 yards, walk back to the starting line and repeat this. Generally I’ll do this for 15, 20, or even 30 minutes.
Sprinting is an excellent form of exercise. It has physical mental and psychological benefits. Consider sprinting for its physical and mental health benefits. But remember, to start slow.