We all know that it is important to get exercise. The benefits of exercise are myriad. I personally get not only physical benefits but I also get profound mental and spiritual benefits as well.
But how much do we need to exercise?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. This equates to 30 minutes per day if you exercise 5 times a week. The NIH also recommends that you can do 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week in lieu of moderate-intensity exercise.
Despite these recommendations there is more evidence that shorter periods of high-intensity exercise are equivalent to long periods of moderate-intensity exercise. In a prior article I wrote last year I reviewed a study that compared two groups of young men.
These men were not in shape to begin with and they all completed 3 sessions of exercise per week for 12 weeks. One group did 45 minutes of moderate activity exercise on a stationary bike. The other group only did 1 minute of all-out exercise within a 10-minute time commitment.
By the end of the study both groups showed equivalent improvements in peak oxygen activity, insulin sensitivity, and skeletal muscle performance. Both groups had an increase in endurance by about 20 percent.
However, they were not equivalent in terms of total time commitment. The moderate activity group spent 27 hours on the bike whereas the high-intensity group only spent 6 hours with only 36 minutes of that time being strenuous.
So what do I do?
My personal favorite high-intensity activity is sprints. I enjoy doing sprints because it gets me outdoors which I feel is also important. What I do is pretty simple. My neighborhood is one big circle. I simply do 4-5 all out sprints with short walking breaks between the sprints and stop when I get back to my house. It takes me about 10-15 minutes total. I try to do this about 2 times per week. That's it! Of course, you can do all sorts of other activities that mimic this process depending on the health of your joints and ability to do vigorous activity.
For those looking to get healthy this summer feel free to reach out and schedule a consultation. Otherwise, before starting any sort of exercise routine please consult with your physician.
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