THIS WALKING, RUNNING, CYCLING, OR AQUATIC-WALKING CHALLENGE HAS SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH BACKING! [Updated from 2018]
What’s the definition of a sports championship 'series sweep'? It’s one team winning the first 4 straight games of a 7- game series, without a loss. Because the team that first wins 4 games total goes on to the next step or takes the championship outright, it’s the shortest path to the top spot. The longest, toughest battles for supremacy in a sport occur when each team has 3 wins apiece, and the 7th game must decide the move up or champion.
Why has this summer challenge been designated the HIIT “Series Sweep”? It aims to help you achieve championship level fitness as fast as is possible with aerobic, high intensity interval training sessions on 4 days of a 7-day week. It’s a weekly ‘series sweep’.
This challenge starts with science. In 2004 Dr. Hiroshi Nose at the Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan led a team of researchers who studied the effects of a 5-month long high intensity interval walking program on the fitness and health of older adults.
There were 3 groups, averaging 63 years in age, comprised of 60 men and 186 women: 1) non-walking, 2) walking at a continuous moderate level 5 pace (on a scale of 1-10 in intensity), and 3) an experimental high intensity interval group walking at a level 4 pace for 3 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of a harder level 7 pace, for 5 or more cycles. Each group was instructed to walk at least 30 minutes, in total, during these sessions and to do so at least 4 days each week.
In the high intensity walking training (HIWT) group there were significant increases in isometric knee flexion and extension (measures of thigh muscle strength) and in peak aerobic capacity for cycling and for walking, as well as a reduction in resting systolic blood pressure. These were the findings when results for HIWT group were compared with those of the moderate intensity continuous walkers.
In 2016, Dr. Nose and his group (S. Handa, S. Masuki, T.Ohio Y. Kamijo, A. Takamata) published the results of a similar study, in which middle-aged and older women who performed HIWT in WATER for only 8 weeks were compared with women who performed HIWT on LAND. The water-walkers were “able to perform exercise at a higher metabolic rate than on land due to improved subjective feelings, which for these women resulted in greater gains in physical fitness.” The AQUATIC fitness gains were the same as measured in the 2004 study: peak aerobic capacity for cycling and for walking, and isometric knee flexion and extension (measures of thigh muscle strength).
Taking the findings of this research into account, the SUMMER CHALLENGE IV was constructed for people who enjoy moderately easy walking, running, bicycling, or aquatic fitness sessions for exercise. It copies the Japanese research study protocol that led to walkers’ improvements in aerobic capacity, thigh muscle strength, and blood pressure. Challengers are invited to change their regular routine of continuous movement at a moderately easy pace to a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, over at least 30 minutes each day, for most days of the week.
Committing to this SUMMER CHALLNGE IV can provide motivation to work towards a goal that helps aerobic exercisers become stronger and healthier. To SWEEP this ‘championship series’, by Earned Runs rules, means committing to the minimum 30-minute HIIT protocol on at least 4 of 7 days of the week, EACH WEEK from May 28 to September 5 without any ‘losses’ (skipped weeks). That’s only 14 weeks*.
Land walkers, as well as runners and bicyclists and water-walkers can participate. It’s a matter of spending 3 minutes moving at a moderately easy level of intensity followed by 3 minutes at a more vigorous intensity and repeating the 6-minute routine at least 5 times to reach at least 30 minutes of total effort.
By the way, the original research paper by Dr. Nose and his research colleagues was published in 2007. A follow-up paper in 2014 showed that middle-aged and older persons were able to adhere to this protocol successfully for 22 MONTHS!!! Although the Earned Runs SUMMER CHALLENGE IV requires several months commitment, it is do-able by young and old over a much longer time period. Therefore, is a reasonable goal as proven by scientific research!
REQUEST OR PRINT EARNED RUNS BIBS NOW; you’ll receive 4, which allows you to ask someone in your family or at work to join you. Or, keep all 4 yourself and encourage the others to request their own free bibs. Keep track of the days you followed the protocol on your bib.
SUMMER CHALLENGE IV: SUMMER SERIES SWEEP
Perform the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Protocol 4 of 7 days each week, from May 28 to September 5.
Warm-up: 5 minutes easy walking, running, bicycling, or water-walking
Cycle 1: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
First 3 minutes: move at LEVEL 4 PACE, on a scale of 1-10 in intensity, 10 being highest intensity
Next 3 minutes, move at a harder, LEVEL 7 PACE
REPEAT cycle 1 at least 4 more times (for a total of 5 or MORE cycles),
to equal at least 30 minutes HIIT
Cool-down: 5 minutes easy walking, running, bicycling, or swim-walking
You can do this! Try for every other day at first, as your legs may be a bit sore afterward. The protocol and a calendar are available for download, and also on the RESOURCES page.
RUN AND MOVE HAPPY!
*NOTE: The original Japanese study continued about 22 weeks; Challengers can opt to add an additional 8 weeks to this summer program by finishing on October 28, 2019, to parallel the 2004 research study protocol that ran from May 18 to October 15. The water-walking extended only 8 weeks, so a shorter course may be adopted in that exercise, as desired.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28418999 (2017; full article not available)
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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