We all know the risks of a sedentary lifestyle. Inactivity accelerates the aging process. When we are inactive we lose muscle, gain fat, and lose bone. We increase our risk of inflammation, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and cancer. Our metabolism slows, hormone levels drop, mood sinks, and we become progressively more unhealthy.
When we become physically active we improve our body composition, metabolism, mood, immune function, energy level, and decrease our risk of degenerative disease. With exercise we lower our biological age.
Certainly there are health benefits to virtually any type of exercise. If we are sedentary and simply start a consistent walking program, we can improve our health and well-being. Finding an activity that you enjoy such as swimming, biking, hiking, yoga, or Pilates, makes it more likely that you will participate consistently in the program.
Any type of recreational or exercise activity you enjoy and are consistent with will have health benefits and is encouraged.
How do we approach exercise from an anti-aging perspective?
What’s the best type of exercise to do?
How long should we exercise?
We know being a couch potato is unhealthy. We know being active is healthy. Should we just do as much exercise as we can as frequently as possible?
If I need to lose weight should I follow my doctor’s advice to “eat less and exercise more”?
The good news is that there are many types of exercise programs that can optimize your results without consuming all of your time. Programs that will efficiently help you burn fat, build muscle, improve stamina, and slow aging.
For best results, we must start with diet changes. While smart exercise will ramp up fat-burning, exercise results will be diminished if our diet is unhealthy. We can’t outrun the negative metabolic consequences of a high-carbohydrate diet. When we convert from a high-carbohydrate diet to a diet full of healthy-proteins, healthy-fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates, we switch metabolism from fat-storage to fat-burning. This dietary change will have tremendous impact on your ability to burn-fat and build-muscle. Don’t fall into the trap of continuing to eat poorly thinking all you need to do is to exercise longer.
Efficient exercise gives your body the appropriate stimulus needed to burn fat, build muscle and improve bone density.
We find that short-duration, high-intensity exercise optimizes fat-burning, muscle-building, and anti-aging results. In other words, the right type of exercise is more effective at shorter duration than the wrong type of exercise is at longer duration. Less time. Better results. Smart exercise.
So what do we mean by short-duration, high-intensity exercise? How intense? How long?
With this type of exercise we find that exercise sessions lasting twenty-minutes or less, three or four times per week work well. That’s less time spent exercising in one week than many people spend exercising in one day!
The most efficient type of exercise routine is called Interval-training. Interval-training consists of alternating short bursts of exertion with short periods of recovery. Exercise briefly at a high-intensity then either continue exercising at a lower-intensity, or rest briefly. Alternate a brief interval of exercise with a brief period of less-intense exercise, called “active-recovery”, or rest completely, then repeat the cycle.
Example: exercise 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, exercise 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and so on.
Interval training can be applied to any type of exercise including aerobics or weight-training. Do an internet search of Interval- training, Tabata training, HIIT (high-intensity, interval-training), or Cross-fit, for infinite exercise options.
With interval-training you basically exercise for a short interval, as hard as you can go, then rest for a short interval, then repeat. How long you perform a specific exercise and the intensity of that exercise depends on your level of conditioning. Walking intervals will work for the novice, sprint intervals may be more appropriate for the conditioned athlete. Body-weight squats for the beginner, squats with weights for the advanced. In other words, high-intensity is a relative term depending on your current level of conditioning. The key is to gradually increase the intensity of the exercise without increasing the duration of the exercise session over approximately twenty minutes. Go hard and go home!
Tabata is an excellent form of interval-training that will serve as an example of what I am describing. With Tabata, you exercise for twenty seconds then rest for ten seconds to complete one set. Do eight consecutive sets and then stop. You have just completed four minutes of exercise. Depending on your conditioning status you could rest for one minute and then repeat another eight sets, or you could stop until your next exercise day arrives. If you continue with additional Tabata sets we have you stop after twenty-minutes total. In time you will become more conditioned no matter what your starting conditioning level. You will notice your intensity gradually increases and your recovery is quicker.
For intervals we find body-weight exercises work well, as do weight-lifting exercises.
Common exercises used in Interval-training such as Tabata include:
The list is endless. You can pick several specific exercises and vary your intervals frequently to keep it interesting and your body adapting. Mix it up.
Advantages of High-intensity, Interval-training:
* Less time/better results than traditional long duration aerobic exercise.
* No equipment required.
* Can do it anywhere.
* Improves aerobic capacity.
* Improves muscle strength/Builds lean muscle tissue.
* Boosts metabolism.
* Optimizes fat-burning.
* Optimizes HGH release/hormone balance.
* Prevents boredom.
* Increases calories burned during and after work-outs compared to steady-state aerobics.
* Decreases risk of repetitive stress-injuries.
* Elicits anti-aging response from the body.
Try a HIIT program for efficient and effective anti-aging exercise.
(Download an Interval-timer App for your Smartphone or on your computer to maximize your work-out efficiency.)