It is typical for fitness professionals and medical specialists to recommend low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to those who are attempting to prevent heart disease or shed pounds. Typically, the advice is along the lines of "do 30 to 60 minutes of cardio at a steady pace three to five times a week while keeping your heart rate moderate." Before you cave in to this prevalent assumption and become a "hamster on a wheel" doing endless hours of dull cardio, I'd like you to explore some new scientific data indicating that steady-state endurance cardio exercises may not be as beneficial as often believed.
First, understand that our bodies are intended to execute physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by periods of rest, or stop-and-go movement rather than steady state movement. Recent study indicates that physical variety is one of the most crucial factors to consider during training. This propensity can be observed throughout nature, since all creatures exhibit stop-and-go movements as opposed to steady-state motion. In reality, humans are the only species in nature that engage in "endurance"-type physical activity.
Except for endurance running and cycling, the majority of competitive sports include stop-and-go movement or short bursts of effort followed by recovery. Consider the physiques of marathon runners and sprinters as an illustration of the disparate benefits of endurance or steady-state training versus intermittent exercise. The normal sprinter has a physique that is lean, muscular, and imposing, whereas the typical marathoner has a physique that is malnourished and weak. Which of the following would you rather be? The internal effects of diverse forms of exercise should also be considered in relation to the advantages of physical variety.
Scientists have known that excessive steady-state endurance exercise (which varies for each individual, but is sometimes defined as more than 60 minutes per session on most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can potentially lead to chronic diseases.
On the other hand, highly varied cyclic training has been associated with higher anti-oxidant generation and an anti-inflammatory response, a more effective nitric oxide response (which can promote cardiovascular health), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss). In addition, steady-state endurance training only trains the heart at a single heart rate range and does not prepare the heart to respond to diverse everyday pressures. In contrast, highly variable cyclic training prepares the heart to adapt to and recover from a variety of pressures, making it less likely to fail in a critical situation. Consider that exercise that trains your heart to swiftly raise and fast reduce will make your heart more able to withstand the stress of daily life.
Rapid increases in blood pressure and heart rate can be brought on by stress. Jogging at a constant speed and other forms of endurance training do not prepare the heart to tolerate sudden fluctuations in heart rate or blood pressure. For instance, suppose you jog for 45 minutes while trying to keep the same pace. Assuming there were no significant inclines along the route, you probably maintained a heart rate of 135 beats per minute for the duration of the run.
In contrast, a much more effective workout might consist of 20 minutes of alternating all-out wind sprints with two minutes of walking in between sprints. With this more effective workout, you rapidly increase and decrease your heart rate on a much bigger scale, causing your heart to develop stronger so that it can respond to a variety of demands. During the recovery walks, your heart rate would likely fluctuate between 110 and 115 beats per minute, and during the sprints, it would increase to 160 or higher. This does not imply, however, that sprints are the only method to benefit from this form of training. These increased results can be achieved by any type of training that combines a highly varied intensity.
The crucial feature of varied cycle training that makes it better to steady-state cardio is the recuperation period between intense bursts. This recuperation interval is vitally important for the body to provide a healthy reaction to an exercise stimulus. Another advantage of changing cycle training is that it is far more engaging and has a lower attrition rate than long, monotonous cardio regimens with a steady state.
In conclusion, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training in comparison to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity of the heart to handle day-to-day stresses.
Stop-and-go or varied intensity physical training can be advantageous in a variety of ways. In addition to wind sprints, the majority of competitive sports, including football, basketball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, etc., are characterized by highly variable stop-and-go action. In addition, weight training naturally combines short moments of intense effort followed by times of recovery. High intensity interval training (alternating between high and low intensity intervals on any cardio equipment) is yet another kind of training that employs effort and recovery periods.
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For instance, a treadmill interval training session could like the following:
Warm up with a brisk walk or gentle jog for three to four minutes;
Interval 1 - run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;
Interval 2 - walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;
Interval 3 - run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;
Interval 4 - walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;
This 20-minute workout consists of four repetitions of these four intervals.
The main takeaway from this chapter is to strive to exercise your body at highly varying intensity rates for the majority of your workouts in order to obtain the most advantageous response in terms of heart health, fat reduction, and a strong, lean body.
Brain-Exercising Cardiovascular Exercise
There are actual linkages between physical exercise and mental exercise, however strange they may appear. It is a well-established truth that the brain grows sharper and more attentive when a person incorporates a regular exercise regimen into his or her everyday existence.
This is due to the fact that all the good ingredients are released in the body's systems, which subsequently assist the brain function more efficiently, providing the basis for the notion that the brain can and must exercise to perform at its best.
Exercising has a favorable effect on the nervous system and almost always releases pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which is the ideal component for tranquility, happiness, and euphoria. Therefore, with regular exercise routines, the brain is able to experience all the pleasant and positive auras, which in turn allows the brain to think more clearly, perform better, and generally maintain a higher morale level; therefore, by stimulating the nervous system, the human mind is able to function at a higher level.
When it comes to overcoming depression, physical activity is nearly always encouraged, since the chemicals created by the body also contribute to a more positive state of mind and thought pattern. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the connection between exercising the body and exercising the brain is the same. If exercise regimens are performed frequently enough, they can eliminate feelings of anger, weariness, and tension. In fact, some people deliberately begin an exercise regimen whenever negative thoughts and emotions begin to dominate their head. Numerous individuals have benefited from this sort of alleviation. Therefore, everyone is urged to engage in aerobic exercises on a regular and consistent basis in order to experience a positive state of mind and mental process.
Weight Management Observance
Almost everyone watches their weight at some point. However, persons participating in a fitness program should monitor their weight at varying intervals in order to determine the efficacy of the program. If the individual is not experiencing weight loss changes within the first few months of beginning the selected exercise program, it may be necessary to modify the individual's exercise schedule. There are also other instances in which it is vital to monitor the weight, and this is especially true if a specific ideal goal weight is the emphasis of the workout program.
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Observing weight gain or loss serves as a motivator for some individuals. This highly apparent indicator of accomplishment might help to maintain a person's motivation and commitment to the prescribed workout program. Once it becomes obvious that the workout programs are effective, weight monitoring can also assist the individual in continuing to strive for greater improvements.
Incorporating workouts that are appropriate for the individual's weight will reduce the likelihood of injury during and after exercise. This is particularly crucial for individuals who are just beginning an exercise regimen.
For this group of persons, health and weight concerns must be carefully examined. Consequently, the significance of weight management should not be minimized.
When people desire to reduce weight or get in shape, dieting is typically the first step they do. This is followed by an exercise routine believed to be suited for the intended objective. However, it is crucial to note that when the body perceives that it is receiving a smaller amount of food, it will turn to proteins stored in the muscles as a substitute, rather than breaking down undesirable fats.
This is the body's technique of ensuring that sufficient energy remains for the individual's everyday functions. After a hard workout, it is usually necessary to refuel with food; therefore, it would be prudent to seek out foods that are both healthy and nutritious, such as fresh fruits and smoothies or shakes that are based on healthy content, as opposed to consuming foods with a high fat content.
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A healthy individual is extremely unlikely to experience fainting or dizziness as a result of their regular exercise program, so eating prior to exercise is unnecessary. Or merely a glass of water will suffice. Those with low blood pressure, on the other hand, should consume a modest meal prior to exercise.
As the muscles are typically still "feeding" at least an hour after a workout, the optimal time to eat would be at least an hour after the workout. This is to guarantee that the body does not quickly use the food's energy, leaving the consumer hungry an hour later.
It may come as a surprise to learn that physical activity without adequate nutrition will not generate the desired outcomes. The vast majority of individuals do not realize that exercising alone without the necessary pre- and post-exercise nutrition for cardio fitness is actually counterproductive. When beginning an exercise plan, it is essential to identify and consume the correct nutrients.