Thursday, December 4, 2008

The What, How and Why of Exercise

This post is an expansion on exercise and eating, to give some more details and specifics to help you get started. The What is referred to by a number of different names, including HIT(high intensity training), HIIT(high intensity interval training), interval sessions, anaerobic sprint workouts and whatever you come up with to describe this type of exercise. In short, it is the type of exercise that gets you out of breath in a relatively short period of time. You can run, ride your bike, swim, do aerobics at super speed, making them anaerobic, or even break dance. If it takes you less than 30 seconds to get out of breath doing the exercise it would fall into the category I am referring to. This brings us right into the how.

Ease into this type of exercise if you're new to it. As it is beneficial, it takes some training to develop your fast twitch muscle fibers. About 8 weeks to get them up to full speed. I recommend for example if you are running, start off at a slow pace and within 5 to 10 seconds work up to a speed that is fast, keeping your awareness of your body in mind, as to what feels fairly natural but still intense. This easing into the exercise could be viewed, in a sense, of how children play. Running as fast as you can through the grass, and feeling the sensation of the wind through your hair, as you exert your power and determination. Just keep it simple and enjoy the feeling. As your muscles develop you'll find it easier and then you can push yourself a little more. Give yourself a little rest while still moving and then do it again. Repeat it 3 to four times and then do some stretches for maximal benefit and injury prevention. It is also good to start with a few stretches before doing the exercise. 3 days a week is all you need to experience great results. It is also recommended to change the specific type of exercise every 4 weeks. I like to mix it up myself, depending on what is more convenient. At this point you may find yourself asking, "Why this type of exercise?"

Some of the benefits include improved bone density and joint integrity, increased muscle size and strength, better heart and lung function, and increased metabolism. Even in Cardiac and Pulmonary patients HIT improved the cardiovascular fitness and health of those who were already very functional individuals. It has been found that these short burst exercises were even more effective at preventing heart disease than longer exercises. Long distance running and other extended type exercises cause the heart, lungs, and muscles to decrease in size in order to go longer. Your body can be conditioned to go longer at the cost of losing its ability to quickly provide large short bursts of energy. These large short bursts of energy, on the contrary, tell the body to increase the size of heart, lungs, and muscles to cope with the bursts, resulting in better overall health and less wear and tear on joints. HGH levels also rise in people doing intense exercises. The increase was up to 450% greater, in the people studied, who did 30 second intervals compared to those who did 6 seconds of intense exercise. HGH makes kids grow taller and helps to keep adults fit and healthy on other levels, which could be the subject of another post. Be careful and take it easy. For now here's something to think on.

Dara Torres was a competitor in the 2008 Olmypic Games. At 41 years of age she beat her own record from about 20 years prior. She also won the silver medal in this event, coming in 1/100th of a second behind the gold medalist, a sixteen year old. Do you think she knows anything about Intensity Training? Put your mind on the limitless and see what you can achieve.

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