Everyone wants to lean down and lose a few pounds. It;s no secret that the only way to lose body fat is to consume less calories and engage in some kind of exercise program. The question is, how much exercise? One's first inclination might be to think the more the better. When it comes to exercise, either strength or cardiovascular training, this isn't the case.
There are many benefits to rolling cardiovascular exercise into your daily living. As we grow older, our arteries become stiffer, less supple, and less effective. These conditions can contribute to high blood pressure and other heart diseases. Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, walking, and biking, can go a long way in strengthening arteries and the heart. But it is often difficult to find an hour every other morning to hit the streets for a run or bike ride. The good news is, you can get the cardiovascular health and weight loss benefits from much less exercise than you think.
A recent study conducted at McMaster University pitted two styles of cardio exercise against each other; long, drawn out cycling and short high-intensity sprints. The study subjects were divided into two groups. Group A trained using 30-second flat-out sprints three days a week. Group B engaged in 30 to 40 minute workouts of moderate cycling five days a week. At the end of a six-week period, researchers discovered that improvement in structure and function of arteries in both groups were the same.
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This translates to more health benefits with less time exercising. In these busy times, it is encouraging to know that maximum health benefits can be realized by exercising less frequently, but more intensely. Exactly how long should you workout? For most people, 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week is adequate to gain the benefits of improved cardiovascular health. But it is essential to make the most of these short workouts. Use high intensity interval-based training. This means oscillating your 20 to 30 minute workouts -- whether running, cycling, jump roping or whatever cardio exercise you prefer -- between fast, intense sprints for 30 to 60 seconds and lower intensity rest intervals for 30 to 90 seconds.
If you workout smart, you can workout less and lose body fat faster than you think possible. When it comes to exercise, both strength training and cardiovascular training, once you hit the threshold of high quality, high intensity exercise your body requires, it is simply a waste of time to do more.
- Craig, Nybo
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