Exercise Regimes; Which Fits You Besides Mowing the Lawn
The long and short of what exercising does for you.
The Fitness Buzz: High Intensity Interval Training, High Intensity Exercises. Bite sized Workouts. The Wonder Workouts: Can one to two minute bursts of exercises be better than the thirty-minute regime? Can smaller bites at building fitness be more effective? What you are about to find out may encourage you, but are you up to it?
“Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die.”
I first read this as a metaphor when I was doing sales. It’s the one thing that I remember from Joe Gandolfo ‘s book. Joe is a sales legend. He was talking about how everyone wanted the fruits without the labor.
And then, it might be an absolute truth. I am sure that many who believe, and some who don’t, would want to go to heaven, given a choice.
C’mon. Even if you are the fearless macho who claims to be impervious to the threats of the devil, it doesn’t make any sense to choose hell.
Hell, no! It doesn’t make sense choosing hell over heaven. Heaven probably makes sense. It’s the transition that is hard to swallow. Before heaven, we have to face death.
Okay, let’s not get into too serious a discussion on the literal hell and heaven. The point I want to make, and I admit, I wandered off, is that for sales the sentence is surely used as a metaphor. However, for health and fitness, the line separating truth from metaphor is not as clear.
Although everyone wants to go to fitness heaven where the abs are astounding, the arm muscles, magnificent, and the core, concrete; very few would ‘die’ for it. Die may not be a good word here. One of the purposes for paying the expensive gym membership is to be strong enough to enjoy a vibrant, physically trouble free life, and to postpone ‘die’ a little bit. A large bit, if possible.
The fruits and labor thing is a better metaphor. The point I want to put through is this; only the hardcore few would invest time to go through the full aerobic, anaerobic, endurance and flexibility regime. Yet, if it is easy enough, everyone wants to be have a body sculpted like the modern day version of Michelangelo’s David. And be healthy enough to enjoy a vibrant life. And to procrastinate quite a bit dying.
Why do people jump off the treadmill of their fitness dream?
A popular guesstimate is that 88% of the people fail their new year resolutions. Health and fitness in many forms is surely a top change target. For millions, the dream of fat to fit dissolves in a few weeks.
Still, this does not stop the health and fitness club industry from snowballing into a $ 94 billion juggernaut in 2020 and growing at 5% -7% annually. There are 210,000 clubs worldwide with over 180 million members.
There are, looking at the fail rate for new year resolutions, a lot of infrequently used gym memberships and tons of unconsumed supplements. It’s one of those things that you sign up or buy to ease your conscience and fear. The great feeling of taking a positive step forward and then, let it fall to comatose until the next health scare.
Researchers found the main reason people side-tracked from their fitness dream; it is too hard. The regime may be too demanding. It requires the rare attribute of self- discipline and fast to empty willpower to follow through. And of course, the public reason is always about the lack of time. Still, there are germs of truth in what the researchers found. Like the real germs, they are never good for health and fitness.
The Full Strength Prescription
The National Health Service, UK has this recommended menu for physical activities level:
-children under 5 should exercise 180 minutes (3 hours) a day, every day,
-people from 5-18, 60 minutes every day,
-those who are 19 and older, should exercise 150 minutes (2.5 hours) every week. Pretty doable. If you have the discipline.
The US Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activities for 2 or more days a week. You can cut the aerobic activity to 75 minutes per week if you step up to the vigorous intensity level when you exercise. If you are a go getter and wants to achieve a higher level of fitness, you can double the 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity.
Aerobic activity or cardio exercise makes your heart beat faster and gets you breathing harder. This will help to shed weight and improve your stamina. This is anything from walking, running, bicycling, to dancing and vigorous household chores. The idea is not to overdo it. Moderate means that you will break a sweat and still have the breath to carry a conversation after the session.
You can go the full nine yards. Go to the gym and get a personal trainer to take you through the strength training, the core and balance training and the flexibility training down to each body part. The best results will come from consistency and sustainability.
May be it is hard to go 30 minutes at one go and 150 minutes a week. Or maybe, the reason you slack off exercising is your inability to keep a commitment to yourself. After all, it’s to yourself. You can easily give permission to you pardoning yourself.
You may be overzealous during one of those annual resolution time. Go for broke. “I will do the 300 per week through the whole gamut of fitness regime…or not at all.” Weeks later, you decide to stick to the last three words.
Why embarrass yourself to you? If you cannot live up to it… slither off to some other things that you will likely do better. It’s not being right or otherwise, it’s a common route. Just make it quiet.
Longer Not Necessary Better
Whatever the reason for our lack of success in the desire to keep fit, new research findings give us less and less foundation for the usual gripes.
The New York Times reported that researchers at a physical education and sports university in Beijing, discovered that you can get the same goodness from smaller bites at exercises. And, the small bites may tout a bigger muscle to help you with your fitness dream.
The researchers discovered that blood flows better during exercise then when rested. A group of healthy men had monitors strapped to their ankles to measure arterial stiffness. It was found that their arteries were more pliable after exercise on a stationary bike, whether it was a thirty-minute block or two 15-minute sessions. It was also found that the ones doing the 15-minute sessions enjoyed the benefit of more pliable arteries for 40 minutes longer.
The same report also quoted a 2012 study where 10 minute walks spaced throughout the day, return same health benefits for those with borderline high blood pressure as a 30-minute one. However, the shorter, spaced walks were found to be better in the blood pressure control.
Further proof that shorter bouts of exercise is as good as a longer one was presented by Taiwan researchers who found that, over a period of eight weeks on the treadmill, college students’ endurance improved significantly. The improvements were almost the same for those who used the treadmill for 30 minutes continuously and those who had three 10- minute bouts.
In an article titled “Short, Intense Workouts Lower Blood Sugar, Study Says,” published by the LA Times, Mary MacVean reported that research scientists discovered doing one minute bursts of high intensity exercise six times yield better result in blood sugar reduction than 30 minutes of continuous moderate intensity exercises. The gap in blood sugar reduction was measured as 4% better.
The conclusion? Short bursts of high intensity exercises have proven to be more effective in blood glucose control for people with Type 2 diabetes than longer periods of moderate intensity exercises.
BBC reported the experiment of Jamie Timmons, professor of ageing biology at Birmingham University and medical journalist Dr. Michael Mosley. They were testing the benefits of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training where, with less extreme form of workouts chosen, the subjects hit 95% of maximal heart rate. It was found that doing HIIT exercises only 3 minutes a week increases insulin sensitivity by 24%. The higher the insulin sensitivity means that the smaller amount of insulin needed to lower the blood glucose level.
The Mail reported that another research found that two and a half minutes of high intensity pedaling on an exercise bike beats brisk walking in cutting down fat. High intensity pedaling cuts fat by 33% while brisk walking takes fat down by 11% only.
Is Mowing the Lawn a Rewarding Exercise?
These are exciting reports that say snappy zappy rapid fire short bursts of high intensity workouts are as good as the longer regime, in some cases even better. The numbers are convincing but, before you rush out for the three-minute burst, check with your doctor if you are up to it.
Remember, exercising is half the story. You have to eat healthy food for desired results. You may also need supplements for cleansing and support. Also, steer away from a toxic lifestyle; cruising alcohol and tobacco fueled late nights.
If your only exercise has been switching channels on the television remote, just start somewhere low. Any exercise is better than no exercise. Don’t get too gung-ho. Give yourself some slack to ease into the demanding relationship with a fitness regime. The ideal rhythm is “slow and steady,” not “it’s now or never.”
You know the rap. Regular exercises cut down your risks from many ailments including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, bone fractures, osteoarthritis, heart disease and stroke. Other benefits include muscling up your immune system, rewarding you restful and fulfilling sleep, cutting down dementia and depression probabilities, improving your self-confidence and strengthening your self- esteem; and allegedly, enhance your sex life. So, if you want a better sex life, and have been nowhere near a gym since time immemorial, start mowing your lawn. You might be rewarded.
Can exercise cut the risk of dying too young?
Another thing, if you want to go to heaven much later, exercise. It is generally believed that, exercising regularly cuts your risk of early death by as much as 30%. It’s a total package. Not only does exercising regularly keep you alive, it keeps you young. If you hang on long enough, in another 30 years, Ray Kurzweil and collaborators might have the technologies to ensure your immortality How about that for another reason to volunteer mowing the lawn? Only thing, convince your partner to do the same. You can do your own. But it’s not the same thing.
The business of looking young reminds me to tell you this story. Some years ago, I was having dinner with some business associates in a restaurant at Chengdu, China. It was a busy restaurant with waiters scurrying with trays of food and drinks. One of the moving trays piqued my interest. It has large cut bones standing like huge cups with a straw in each. I asked the associate closest to me what that cuisine was all about. “It’s a favorite dish here, “he offered. “What’s so special?” I asked. My friend replied, “well, taking the dish will ensure that you do not grow old.” Ha, so this must be the Chinese secret elixir of youth. “I want one,” I requested. “I am sure you do not want it,” my friend responded. He continued, “the reason why I said that taking that dish will ensure that you do not grow old is because you will die young.” Apparently they were serving bone marrows. The straws were used to suck them out.
Are you sure that high intensity interval training will enhance your fitness better or would you go for the moderate intensity ones? Consult your doctor before you take the HIIT. It's about your fitness. You have to be sure.
Word is that exercise can reduce your chances of dying younger by 30% (if you do not suck bone marrows). But you must avoid being too ambitious. The right idea is a sustained schedule.
Heaven can wait. If you want to enjoy a vibrant life on this wonderful planet a lot longer than your best before date, don’t just mow the lawn. Get all the information you need. Design a fitness plan that fits you.