Most people have used running as a form of exercise from time to time. Sprints, on the other hand, don’t receive as much attention. Sprinting is when you run as fast as you can for a short period of time. It is often highly underrated as a form of exercise to boost cardiovascular fitness and promote fat loss.
When you’re sprinting you’re using all of your energy and muscle power. That is what makes it so challenging. Your body can only maintain it for short and intense bursts. I have previously written about alternatives to steady-state running to increase fitness. Sprinting would fall into the interval training category as you would usually perform multiple sets of sprints with a short rest in between.
Sprints increasing maximum heart rate
Since almost every muscle in your body is activated, sprints bring your heart rate up very quickly. Over time, it is said that regular sprinting can increase your maximum heart rate.
Your maximum heart rate is the top limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical exertion. Developing a higher maximum heart rate is a good thing if you want to train your body to be more efficient when exercising. For a fighter, it is useful training tool to help prevent gassing out during rounds.
Sprints increasing metabolism and fat loss
After a bout of sprinting, your body experiences excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also known as oxygen debt. EPOC describes your body’s need for increased oxygen after a strenuous activity to help restore your body to its resting state. It can also be accompanied by an increase in metabolic rate. The boost in metabolism leads your body to break into its fat stores to fuel its recovery. This way, it is the after effect of sprinting that encourages your body to burn fat.
I regularly use sprints as part of my training. At the end of a Muay Thai or boxing session I might do four to six sprints up a hill as a finisher. Or if I’m out on a run I will add in some sprints. I would usually sprint for as long as I can, return to a jog while I recover, and then repeat.
If you are looking to start sprinting and want a little boost, the Nike Zoom Fly running shoes are designed for sprinting as a fitness activity. The sole of the shoe curves up at the front so it acts to propel you with each stride. I got a pair recently and I feel like they give me that little bit of extra help.