By J. J. Gregor
Temperatures have risen, flowers are budding, and summer is just around the corner.
It’s time to think about getting back into shape and ready for swimsuit season. Some may start lifting weights, some will jump into a boot camp, or some may even head out for a good old-fashioned run.
Before you tackle any strenuous endeavor, there are a few things you need to consider.
The latest research is showing that more isn’t really better. And high intensity workouts could actually end up being more damaging than lower intensity.
Humans are actually designed to do low intensity activities over long periods of time. Think about it, throughout most of human history we were migratory, hunting and gathering and following the herds of animals we hunted for food. The patience of the hunt was a low intensity activity, accentuated by brief really high levels of intensity, e.g, the kill.
What most people call cardio is usually anything but true aerobic exercise (done with oxygen) as it’s nowhere near low intensity. When someone is sprinting for 60 minutes on a treadmill, do you really think that their body is using oxygen? The sad part is, they think they’re doing something great for their heart but what they are causing is calcifications, or ‘hardening’ of the arteries and a myriad of other potential problems
Here’s the good news, and the solution. Moderate to low intensity exercise has been shown to reverse the hardening and calcification of these arteries. In fact, low to moderate exercise is proven to increase the effectiveness of both your thyroid and heart – two very essential ‘operating systems’ and two very important keys weight loss.
The easiest way to determine your intensity level is with a heart rate monitor and using Dr. Phil Maffetone’s Method for finding your target heart rate.
Here’s how it works.
Exercise 30 to 45 minutes*, three to five times a week for three to six months at your heart rate. This will develop your aerobic base.
Here’s how to find your heart rate range:
– 180 Beats Per Minute minus your age equals the Top Number of your range. Then subtract that number by 10 for the bottom number of your range.
Example of a 36-year-old:
180 – 36 = 144 So your range would be from 134 – 144
If you’ve had a major illness, surgery, hospital stay, etc. in the past year you’ll need to take 10 points off the top and bottom of this range.
So that same 36-year-old would then have a heart rate range from 124 – 134
*Remember, a 10 minute warm up and a 10 minute cool down.
Following this plan will allow you to build an aerobic base, burn fat, increase your endurance, help balance your blood sugar, decrease your risk of injury, help to balance your thyroid hormones. All of this will lead to faster weight loss and hopefully an actual enjoyment of cardio!