COULD 3 MINUTES OF EXERCISE A WEEK REALLY BE ENOUGH?
Intuitively, you know as well as I do that high intensity training (HIT) where you do very short bursts of very high intensity exercise for a total of a paltry three minutes each week could never really be sufficient to get you fit and keep you healthy. Yet a growing number of scientists and academics are telling us otherwise.
They claim that six bouts of 30 seconds of full-on lung-bursting exercise over a week, or nine bursts of 20 seconds of muscle-training activity over the same period, can improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. They say they can objectively measure this improvement and that for people with busy lives and increasing waistlines who either don’t like or don’t have time for exercise, HIT is the answer.
For all their research, however, I couldn’t agree less. Like all things that sound too good to be true, it almost certainly is. I’ve seen unfit people go hell for leather for a few seconds in the gym and then collapse in a heap never to be seen again. Furthermore, HIT on the obligatory static bicycle will not help you lose weight, nor will it help you tone up your muscles and improve your overall shape. It only uses a few of the larger muscles and isn’t particularly enjoyable either. After all, would it ever give you that lovely feeling of achievement after a prolonged jog in the fresh air, or that buzz of satisfaction after a group session in a class?
No. Personally, I don’t subscribe to it. The academics can tell me what they like but, for me, a 30-second charge on a piece of gym equipment nine times a week that you don’t even need to bother to get changed for isn’t going to cut it.
Jogging will always rate very high on the calorie burning scale. Hard, challenging and intense exercise is the most effective way to get weight off and keep it off.
Good front crawlers will burn more than that glass of champagne in just 10 minutes! Swimming with any stroke is really good for keeping joints mobile as well as a great cardio fat-burning workout.
Calorie burning varies a lot with skiing depending on your ability. If you can stay upright on your skis then the 95 calories will be burned away in just 12 minutes. If you keep falling over and have to pick yourself up the calorie burn will be considerably more!
Combining arm movements as well as legs will work more muscles and burn a significant number of calories. It has all the advantages of running without the hard impact on your joints, so is a good choice for more mature exercisers or anyone who needs to protect joints.
Playing in the snow is an excellent full body workout. Just walking on soft snow triples the calorie spend of walking on a normal surface and cold weather naturally works the body harder as it tries to maintain its core temperature.
Pilates is often referred to as ‘intelligent exercise with profound results’. It demands high levels of concentration so giving the brain a workout as well as the body. It complements your cardio sessions perfectly as you will be longer and leaner with a great posture. Give it a go!
The use of water in water aerobics is fantastic as it supports the body and reduces the risk of muscle or joint injury. Surprisingly though not as many calories are burned as would be in similar land-based activities as the speed with which movements can be performed is greatly reduced. It is perfect if you are recovering from joint problems or find the usual aerobic sessions too fast and furious.
Get the whole family playing games that gets everybody moving. Charades, Twister and even musical statues for example will get everybody moving about burning up extra calories.
Weight training targets one specific area of the body as opposed to cardio sessions, which work the whole body so they are not so calorie consuming. However, weights help to make every individual muscle a ‘fat eater’. Weight train regularly and your overall fat burning rate increases due to more muscles being in tip top condition!
This is the best way to watch your favourite TV programmes. Instead of just slouching on the couch burning only 1 calorie per minute you can more then treble your output to 3.5 calories per minute whilst ironing. Such knowledge sets you on the path to slimness!
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