Log in
British Lung Foundation
36,905 members44,068 posts

High intesity Interval Training

I am intrigued by this. I do go to the gym and do a fairly good work out which satisfies me. But I wonder if I can go further.

High intensity interval training as I see it might do so. I have looked first at interval training, which they say in the attached article that it can be done with benefit fot people affected by COPD (Aha!)


As I read the caution, I think that it is where I would start. Building g.r.a.d.u.a.l.l.y up to it, not to find oneself with a terrible asthma attack or worse (is there anything worse?) in hospital!

I have done little bursts of pedaling on the static bike. I suppose one can organise these burst of energy and do them regularly ( still within limits of ones abilities)

I'm going to see my Pulmonary nurse and ask her on 27th of this month. keep exercising, though, because that is vital to stay the progress of our illness.

I just found this on about health, on how to do this interval training, even and especially if you are a beginner and suffering with a lung condition: How to Do It:


Choose any cardio activity - This can work with any machine or activity - Running, cycling, walking, elliptical, jumping rope, kickboxing etc.

Choose the length of your workout - This might be 10-20 minutes for beginners or 30-60 minutes for more advanced exercisers.

Choose the length of your work/recovery intervals - Because you're staying aerobic, you can create any work/recovery ratio you like. If you're a beginner, you might alternate 1-2 minutes hard with 5 or more minutes easy. The more advanced may make their work intervals longer (e.g., 10 minutes) and their recovery intervals shorter (e.g. 2 minutes).

Start your workout with a 5-10 warm up followed by your work and recovery intervals. Alternate each for the length of the workout.

End with 5 minute cool down and stretch.

10 Replies

I have heard about the high intensity cardio workout where you do it for 6 seconds at a time then rest then do it again for 6 seconds etc. You can work up to it slowly. I tested this out. When I go dog walking I have to walk up a hill. Several times I have run up as fast as I can for 6 seconds then stop. It doesn't make me knackered, in fact it is energising presumably as it is only for 6 seconds. x

1 like

I have found, through exploring this on the internet, the NHS website where they do a programme called from couch to 5K. In fact, I've just singed up for the community here (if you type it in the search, you will find it) This is much better because there's a week practice at one level and then it increases for 9 weeks. The NHS idea is that your run. But I go to the gym and tried it on the static bike.

This is a couple of minutes at a comfortable pace; then you do 60 sec intense (but not abnoramlly intense that you fall off the bike!) then you "calm down" for 90 seconds. You start again for 60 secs and so forth. I did this for ten minutes. That was something. Every time, I was bordering on the shortness of breath; but in the end, I felt invigorated.

"FROM COUCH TO 5K" an interesting idea


Hi helingmic - just tried this for myself! Printed out the interval training suggestion and the effort levels. Easy to understand - very descriptive. Taped both sheets to my treadmill and away I went! Walked for over 22 minutes (twice as long as I usually manage) and although I knew I'd worked myself hard, it didn't take long to recover. Going to persevere with this I think, as the varied inclines and speeds make it more interesting that the plain plodding along at max speed for 10 minutes! Thanks for sharing.

1 like

I think if you can do it (within the limits of your tolerance) this seems a good exercise.

(When I went to my doctor after my illness in 2010 and told him I ws going to the gym, he rolled his eyes to the ceiling. Now he said I was transformed!)


Hi Helingmic

I do interval training at the gym. Mine is my own made up one!

I started off slowly at the gym low level building up. But after some time I found I could spend 10-20 mins no problem on say the crosstrainer - it was not challenging me!

My gym coach (free!) suggested HIT. One minute HIT and one minute low level. FORGET that nearly killed me!

So I set off, using the timer on the machine, on the minute I did 10 secs of HIT and then for the remainding 50 secs low level - I found this more demanding on my heart and lungs which is what I want to exercise. I have now increased this to 30secs HIT and 30secs low level, actually that is on the bike, on the cross trainer this morning I did 15 secs HIT 45 secs low intensity.

So, when I feel comfortable i make a 5sec increase per minute HIT. I feel as though I have had a good work out and setting a slightly higher target gives me a challenge. Also it takes less time to do my workout.

I certainly would not recommend this to anyone starting an exercise but for those who are fit and want to get fitter I love it!

Have you read about the couch to 5K? I believe it suggests this method to build up your stamina and tolerance. I am some way off the 5K but with practice I may just get there!

Kindness always


Yeah! I've just read about it yesterday, after looking for HIgh intensity. since I'm not particularly fit, I thought couch to 5K is a good one. Like you, I have adapted it to the gym. I did it warm up; then 1 minute intense, then 90 sec catch your breath. I did this for 10 minutes for the whole exercise. I also tried it on the sitting cross trainer (easier than the standing one,, as I get blown out on the standing one). Taht too was good.

You're going to b a superhero in 9 weeks time :-)


Hi Helingmic, got my Lung Function Test in November when I am really going to be a superhero!

I am just making a 5 min increase when I am comfortable and really enjoying the 'buzz' feeling. Keep it up.

Kindness always


Thank you for the kindness, and kindness is addressed to you too. Can I call yo Socrates, the wise? (He was never married the poor chap!)


Good morning Helingmic (and what a wonderful morning to wake up to.

Well like Socrates I, too, never married!

I was wondering..... How can you go so long at HIT when I can only manage 15 secs per minute? I really do feel the benefits of the gym. If I miss a couple of days I really do notice. Well the gym is open so I will get my fix early today.

Kindness always



When you said, "I'm wondering" I thought that you might continue, "How long I can still be not married"! Ah well, you know, it's up to you really (I believe that). When I was 40, I thought to myself, this is it, time to get married. And I did!

To the other point, I remember the first days I went to the gym; they were daunting and I was out of breath all the time. I could only do 2.5 minutes at 1.8 miles an hour. It took me six months to better this to 5 minutes.

Don't worry about how others may do. You will improve, but little by little, your body will let you know! Take courage, persevere and take care. AND tell us your progress ... your ups and down! Cheers, Mic

1 like

You may also like...