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Why it’s okay to embrace medium intensity exercise if you hate HIIT

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It’s totally okay to turn it down a notch every now and again.

The world of fitness is a difficult one to slip into if you’re neither that way inclined or actively interested in the idea. The gym community isn’t the easiest to assimilate into if you’re not very confident. Willing yourself to work out in public isn’t always straightforward if you, in all seriousness, have no idea how to go about it.

The long and short of it is that the whole exercise endeavour bears quite a lot of pressure for those who’d describe it as unfamiliar territory, especially when we’re surrounded by Instagram images of what fitness is ‘meant’ to look like (which, needless to say, looks nothing like whatever it is we’re haphazardly doing on the gym floor).

Coupled with the fact that with the way fitness trends seem to be going, we’re trying to cram more and more into shorter periods of time for maximum impact and instant gratification – it’s all very intense. While I’m sure we can all understand the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts – efficiency, time-saving, burning more in a shorter time, etc – could it be possible that we’re HIITing too hard?

I’m not an instinctive exerciser, but I think there’s a lot to be said for taking the time to actually focus, refine and heck, enjoy, your workout. It doesn’t have to be high intensity all the time. Exercise doesn’t have to be super difficult to be rewarding, ya hear?

Moderate intensity exercises basically means that your heart rate is kept relatively steady for at least 20 minutes or so, but often extends up to an hour or so of steady training. If you’re not quite sure how to measure intensity, lots of instructors recommend the ‘talk test’ which basically means that you can comfortably carry a conversation while you’re exercising but are breathing a little heavier than usual.

It’s a great place to start if you’re new to the exercise thing, and should be a crucial part of training for anything that requires decent stamina. So, in the spirit of embracing the perfectly human and realistic perspective that not every day is a HIIT day, here are some medium-low intensity exercises you can do without hating every other 45-second interval. No gym membership necessary.


Remember when cycling was fun? Let’s make like the Stranger Things kids and bring them back. Don’t worry, I’m super nervous about riding on the road too, but if you have a quick look over on your local council’s website, they should have details of cycle routes that you can try, or even just do a few laps of the park like you used to do as a kid.


Remember that seemingly pointless practice of walking both feet to the top of a shallow stepping board, only to step back down again and wonder why you bothered. Well, turns out that if you do it for long enough at a bit of a pace it qualifies as legitimate exercise. Grab some sturdy books or a box or the last couple of steps on your staircase if you have one, and get to stepping.

Power walking

That’s right, power walking. Nostalgia hits in more ways than one, my friends. So grab a pal and go for a brisk long walk around the park in some shiny, brightly-coloured Lycra.

Jumping rope

Noticing a bit of a throwback theme here? Us too. And most of these types of moderate exercises were super popular back when social media wasn’t a thing and every workout didn’t have to be proven on Instagram… just saying. Grab a rope and jump. You’ll be surprised to remember how fun it is to jump up and down with a chunky bit of string.

Words: Jazmin Kopotsha
Photos: GIPHY & Getty Images.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.


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