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Or maybe more of a roller-coaster ride…? Valentine’s Day is coming up, so how about planning for some intervals-oriented workouts to get that heart beating? (What is a good heart rate, anyway? Why does it matter?)

Couch to 5k is a program for people who have no running experience. It takes you through workouts that mix intervals of walking and running, gradually increasing the amount of time you spend running. Want to add a little danger? Try the Zombies Run! program — same idea … but with zombies!

The 7-Minute Workout is a series of floor exercises meant to be done interval style, with timed rests.

Do you have a heart rate monitor? You can use it during a workout to decide how long to rest between sets, by starting your next set when your heart rate drops to a particular level. Here is a brief introduction to how.

Heart Rate Zone Training was all the rage for a while, and while it’s not really as precise as it looks (lots of factors can influence heart-rate ranges), it still gives a good blueprint for levels of effort. (I use a form of this to make sure most of my exercise is up to moderate intensity, with some high-intensity work mixed in.)

Here is some general info from the American Heart Association about beginning an exercise plan, with some information about heart rates. If you’re starting out, staying on the conservative end of the “rate of perceived exertion” scale will still give you plenty of benefits, and help you build a good foundation for increasing your ability.

For more about interval workouts, including links and some sample workouts using a rowing machine, check out Concept2’s Interval Training page.

Image of a heart-cell plush from Giant Microbes — you still have time to order one for a special someone!

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