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I'm a 60-year-old male. I'm a professional whitewater kayaking instructor, and I like to compete in kayak surfing. My goal is to get in as good a shape for those sports as my limited time allows. While I've always been very active, I am not and never really have been a top-flight competitor/athlete.

Because of joint issues I've had to stop hard weight training, but paddling hard is still within my abilities. Between an injury and an operation, I'm still getting back into decent condition.

I have been doing Tabata intervals with the kayak between one and three times a week. While they feel great, and they do give me a serious workout-- my paddling stamina is far better and I can feel my lats bumping up against my triceps lately -- I know that running would be an even better cardio workout.

I know that Tabata should not be an everyday thing. However, should it be considered as separate types of workout for completely different muscle groups? In other words, if I do my kayaking Tabata workout on M-W-F, and on one or two of the alternate days I do a running Tabata, is that too much stress on the aerobic system?

Or should I consider each Tabata day as if all of them were the same, and only do three a week no matter which one I do? Or maybe max out at two Tabata days/week for each muscle group?

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In other words, if I do my kayaking Tabata workout on M-W-F, and on one or two of the alternate days I do a running Tabata, is that too much stress on the aerobic system?

I don't think so. You're only taxing your system for four minutes, which really isn't a lot of load on your aerobic system. Personally I'd be more worried about the stress caused by doing sprint work (you'll be running that fast) three days a week. Sprints are terrific, but hard on the body.

It's worth mentioning too that Tabata (the guy) didn't set out to design a long-term program that would help you incrementally improve. If you're looking for that, you're much more in the realm of traditional strength and conditioning programs that have controlled parameters, balancing stress (exercise) and over-compensation (gains).

Or should I consider each Tabata day as if all of them were the same, and only do three a week no matter which one I do? Or maybe max out at two Tabata days/week for each muscle group?

It's worth pointing out too that in the original study that Dr Tabata did, he had his high intensity group working out four days a week, so he had back-to-back days on there.

If you have the recovery capacity for it, I would really look at mixing in kettlebells or bodyweight strength training. Additionally, I would add them on the days you're doing tabata. Do your classic strength training + tabata (runs or kayaks) on the same days.

I like having complete rest days, and given your job it sounds like even on rest days you're still moving around a bit (which is great).

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