Time-efficient ways to improve your fitness

by Michelle Fiscus. 0 Comments

How every day activities and a new way to do cardio can shave hours off your workouts

Let’s face it… we are a society of convenience. You can get almost anything in a drive-thru these days, whether it’s food, money or prescriptions. Instead of going to the mall to purchase something, we shop online. And instead of going to the library to look something up, we use the Internet.

All those conveniences have made us lazy. And when it comes to offsetting that laziness with exercise, it’s hard to find the time to fit in a workout.

But two new studies reveal it’s a lot easier to fit in exercise than we realize.

The first study shows an active lifestyle may be just as beneficial as a structured workout. You even reap the same health benefits, like preventing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. An active lifestyle requires you make small changes to activities you do every day. Some ideas include: standing up and pacing while talking on the phone, chopping and prepping your own vegetables instead of buying pre-made ones, raking the leaves/shoveling the snow instead of using a blower, and shopping at the store instead of logging onto the computer.

If you do a few of these simple things, there is a very good chance you will meet the federal guideline that recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day… and you’ll accomplish that without stepping foot inside a gym!

If you want to do more than the minimum and are looking to improve your fitness, there is a time efficient way to do that, too.

That’s where the other study comes in. It looked at two ways to achieve all the benefits of endurance training in a fraction of the time. You just replace the long miles with High intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT). The research shows three sessions of SIT, which takes just 90 minutes a week is as effective as five sessions of steady state endurance exercise which consumes five hours of your week.

The HIT and SIT are just as effective in increasing insulin sensitivity. That adds up to better insulin delivery and improved fat burning. Researchers also found reduced stiffness in large arteries; an important factor in reducing vascular disease.

So how do you perform the exercise? SIT involves four to six repeated 30 second “all out” sprints followed by 4.5 minutes of very low intensity exercise. SIT is recommended for young and healthy individuals because the duration of the high intensity workload. But, anyone can do its alternative, HIT. That program involves 15-60 second bursts of high intensity work followed by 2-4 minute intervals of low intensity. In this study, spinning bikes were used. But, SIT and HIT can be done on a treadmill, elliptical, or outside.

By finding 90 minutes a week to complete three SIT or HIT workouts, you can dramatically improve your fitness. And when you combine those workouts with a more active lifestyle, you’ll actually be getting more exercise than the average American; plus, enjoying all the health benefits that go along with it.

If you have a story idea or to ask a question, email Michelle at michelle@fiscusfitness.com.

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Michelle Fiscus and her husband own a personal training and nutrition business based in Frederick County and hold industry certifications and credentials.

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