Remember the 1980’s? The decade of Jane Fonda, big hair, Richard Simmons and leg warmers produced some forgettable trends. One of these was aerobics classes which the experts at the time said was the way we were supposed to exercise to get fit and lose weight.
Now they have changed their minds and tell us that Richard Simmons was wrong. Waving our arms around and jiggling our body for an hour at a time does seem a bit silly now. But it was fun and got a lot of people off the couch and moving.
Although this type of activity has past its sell by date the stigma of ‘aerobic activity’ still remains. Many people believe it is an exercise program and when they decide to get active they start with some type of long, slow steady state type of activity such as walking, jogging, cycling or some other repetitive, low intensity activity.
Now they are saying this type of activity will not:
o make you lean.
o protect you from heart disease.
o even boost your energy.
Even worse, aerobic training – the kind the medical profession touts as the path to good health – can actually wreck your body. If you do enough of this type of activity it will make you sick, tired and old before your time.
It does make sense as our ancestors lived in a world where their food fought back and predators attacked without notice so they often had to run or fight – fast and hard. These short bursts of high output activity fine tuned our ancient ancestors and kept them strong and fit. We are still hard wired with the same physiology yet have lost those kinds of physical challenges so we need to perform similar activity to stay healthy and fit.
The experts are now saying that if we do too much aerobic activity we can compromise our health, causing us to age prematurely. And here is why: When you exercise for long periods at a low to medium intensity, you train your heart and lungs to get smaller and downsizing these major organs is an invitation for sickness and disease.
To not only beef up your health and lung system but your entire body both inside and out you need to perform a proper exercise program that contains at least 60% strength training exercise. As adults lose 7 -10 pounds of muscle tissue each decade after the mid 20’s it is imperative that the right exercise program is followed to not only prevent this loss but to reverse what has already been lost.
Strength training is the only exercise that will do the job, and this is where doing the wrong type of exercise could cost you your health in the long term. No amount of low intensity, long duration activity can ever prevent the loss of muscle tissue and in fact will cause it to disappear dragging with it your youthfulness and vitality.
The latest research has found that the key to exercise is not the length or endurance. It is the intensity. Exercise intensity refers to how much work is being done and the degree of effort that you put into each segment of your workout. For example the more intensity you place on a working muscle, the more quickly it will increase in strength.
To get some of the short burst high intensity activity into your exercise program, do some interval training 1-2 times per week. This involves 8 -12 seconds of all out activity then a longer rest period. An example of this would be 10 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds to one minute of walking to recover. Repeat this 8 -10 times or more depending on your current fitness level.
This exercise program based around strength training and interval training will give you maximum health benefits protecting you from disease and holding off the aging process protecting your youthfulness. You can still do low intensity, long duration activity which can be part of an overall active lifestyle. Just don’t ever replace a proper exercise program with it.
Reap the benefits of the knowledge that modern research has provided for us and update your exercise program into the 21st century. Sadly, the old aerobics era is over but we have something better to replace it with that will give us better results in less time.
Do you want to discover the secret to rejuvenating your body, regaining lost vitality and improving the quality of your life? Download my free ebook “I’ve Found the Fountain of Youth – Let Me Show You Too!” Health Related Fitness [http://www.over50looking30.com]
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Carolyn Hansen is a certified fitness expert and fitness center owner who coaches clients to look and feel younger. In her nearly 30 years of fitness and bodybuilding competition experience she has helped thousands of people start their journey towards being strong, fit and youthful at any age.