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cardio training

cardio trainingBefore you start wasting hours upon hours on those boring treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines, let’s examine if low-moderate intensity, long duration cardio exercise is really doing your body any good, or if it is mostly a waste of time. I hope you will concede upon finishing this article that there is a better way to get in great shape, and it doesn’t have to involve endless hours on boring cardio machines.
It is common to hear fitness professionals and medical doctors prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations constitute something along the lines of “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times per week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”. Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to consider in your training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as all animals demonstrate stop-and-go motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities.
Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?
Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss).
Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way — Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure.
For example, lets say you jog trying to maintain the same pace for a good 45-minute run. As long as you didn’t encounter any big hills along the way, you probably maintained approximately the same heart rate the entire time – let’s say it was 135 beats/minute. Now, let’s contrast that with a much more effective workout of doing 20 minutes of alternating all-out wind sprints with walking for a minute or two in between sprints to recover. With this more effective workout, you’re rapidly changing your heart rate up and down on a much larger scale, forcing it to grow stronger to be able to handle varied demands. Your heart rate would probably alternate from 110-115 during the recovery walks all the way up to 160 bpm or more during the sprints. This doesn’t mean that sprints are the only way to take advantage of this style of training. Any style of training that incorporates highly variable intensity will give you these improved results.
The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.
To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors. There are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training.
In addition to the previously mentioned wind sprints, most competitive sports such as football, basketball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion. In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between high and low intensity intervals on any piece of cardio equipment) is yet another training method that utilizes exertion and recovery periods. For example, an interval training session on the treadmill could look something like this:

Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog;

Interval 1 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 2 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Interval 3 – run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 4 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Repeat those 4 intervals 4 times for a very intense 20-minute workout.

The take-away message from this article is to try to train your body at highly variable intensity rates for the majority of your workouts to get the most beneficial response in terms of heart health, fat loss, and a strong, lean body.
Latest Update: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Benefits Of Swimming For Fitness

Swimming is one of those exercises that’s hard to hate, since it’s gentle and yet fun at the same time. Most people enjoy a dip in the pool, so why not turn that dip into some laps as a form of exercise? There are many fitness benefits that one can get from swimming. If you’re not convinced, keep reading.

Swimming Is Great Cardio

Swimming requires a lot of energy and burns a lot of calories thanks to the fact that, when you swim, you need to move your whole body instead of just your legs or your arms. Swimming works your body and heart the same way any cardio workout, such as dancing or running, would. So if you take up swimming for your fitness, you will work your heart and boost your metabolism at the same time. To get the most out of swimming, it’s best to carry out interval training where you do high intensity sprint swimming alternated with easier workouts. This way you’ll push your body hard but will be able to do so for a longer period.

Swimming Is Great For Strength Training

WOMENS-SWIMMING-3Not only is swimming good for a cardio workout, swimming challenges the muscles all over your body and is great for increasing overall body strength. The water resistance you face while swimming forces your muscles to work harder – just like traditional forms of strength training. You’ll be able to gain some muscle and tone up your body at the same time. Swimming is also widely used as therapy to strengthen injured muscles in athletes, since the water resistance provides a good workout without giving stress to the injured body parts.

Swimming Is Great For Everybody!

The great thing about swimming is that everybody can do it and enjoy it. It’s suitable for every age group and fitness level; you can decide how hard to push yourself when you swim. Elderly people can benefit from swimming too, since the water gives good support to their body and they can stay fit without worrying about injuring their back or joints. It’s also a great activity for you to do with your family: you can have fun together and stay healthy at the same time. If you bring little kids along to the pool, though, be sure to always keep an eye on them to prevent any accidents.

Benefits of Swimming

Latest Update: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

female fitness

Some Basic Tips For Female Fitness

Female fitness needs are unique in their own nature. When we talk of fitness in terms of the female body then women need to concentrate on special areas of their body in order to remain in shape. Apart from the abdomen area, the other areas where fat accumulation takes place more in the female are the buns, the thighs and the back of the legs.

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female fitness

female fitness


In fact the most basic and easily adhered female fitness program can relate to the normal activities of a typical day. We can easily boost our normal activity levels and stay healthy and fit.

Female fitness: Easy ways to Boost normal activity levels

1. Walk as much as possible

2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator

3. Always take the “long way around”

4. Stand instead of sitting whenever possible

5. Lose the remote of the T.V

6. Opt for the bathroom that’s furthest from you

7. When cleaning house, exaggerate your movements and make them big

8. Plant a garden and work in it during the spring and summer

9. Whenever possible with home improvement or fix ups, do them yourself

10. Chop and/or stack the wood yourself for fireplace

11. Play with children, or grandchildren if you have them

12. Go out dancing once or twice a month

13. Learn how to play tennis, racquetball, or any other sport

14. Swim

15. Join local hiking or cycling club

These are just some of the activities that are mentioned here. Each of us can find many of such activities in our day to day life which can help us to improve our physical fitness in a natural way.

Apart from this if you find that there are problem areas involved as I had mentioned earlier in terms of your abdomen, the buns, the thighs and the back of the legs then you can initiate special female fitness programs with the help and consultation of your physician and trainer.

Female fitness: Taking care of the buns, the thighs and the back of the legs

Watching out for the diet is important. Healthy and balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats and proteins are essential. A diet plan can be prepared for action. Essential exercise regimens can be initiated which can involve weight training and cardiovascular exercises. These are especially good for the lower part of the body. The exercise program should be followed consistently in the shorter work plans but it should be kept flexible for the longer periods as per the results seen from the exercise regimen. It is very important to note that all exercise regimens work well if we patiently and persistently follow it. You cannot expect things to happen overnight. Most importantly you must remember that with the special female fitness program you are trying to reduce the fat from the difficult area of the body and you are not counting the number of kilos or pounds that you have lost or going to lose in the process.

Female fitness: Exercise for the Abdomen

Strong abdominal muscles means a stronger back and more powerful overall physique and therefore a exercise regimen for the abdomen is essential not only to burn the fat in that region but also to enhance the overall fitness. Lying on the back and carrying out the “bicycle exercise” with your legs in the air moving in a paddling action can really help the abdomen area.

Further, an abdomen care checklist can be planned which can include:

1. Eating right kind of food with a nutritional program that fits for you
2. Exercise at least three times a week which can include aerobic exercises or circuit training
3. At least two specialized abdominal exercises as a day to day routine
4. Keeping up good posture especially with your back
5. Reducing stress by relaxing with the exercise program, deep breathing and meditation

Finally let me reemphasize that the special female fitness program that you are planning for yourself can only work if you truly believe in it and you are truly committed to it. Remember to involve your trainer and physician in your fitness program. They know you well and they can suggest you the best fitness program.
Latest Update: Tuesday, October 16, 2018