You will be forgiven for thinking that getting fit, trim and healthy is going to involve hard slogs at the gym and countless hours away from doing the things you really love. Enter a gym only 10 years ago and you may have been told just that. STOP. What if you could embark on a new way of thinking? Evidence now exists that tells us we need to move, yes, we always knew that. But we need to move OFTEN and PICK UP THE INTENSITY!
The focus for weight loss was once targeted on duration, and clients were told to focus on long, low intensity sessions. Even I observed countless people pounding the treadmill for up to an hour at a time, with some keen-beans hanging out at the gym for up to two hours at a time. How boring! I love my exercise but I am not that keen to spend two hours at a gym unless I am training for something specific or I am some elite athlete or super model (me, none of the above). Don’t get me wrong, I have been there and done that. I have trained hard for events, such as the City to Surf, and yes, got the results from the hours put in slogging it out. But that is completely different to the lives most of us live. Swamped, tired parents who are struggling to find a minute to themselves can hardly justify spending two hours at a gym. Well, you don’t have to. I don’t and neither should you.
Researchers from the University of Utah have found that several short bursts of exertion have the same effect as longer, but less frequent sessions of exercise. The point is you need to exercise frequently, but yes, you have to exercise intensely. Short and sweet, I mean sweaty. Every minute of brisk activity counts! So yes, taking the stairs at work rather than the lift, counts. I find the problem is that people don’t think it counts. Taking the stairs today won’t see you dripping the fat off. But stop thinking about the now and think about the cumulative effect. If you climb the stairs five days a week at work, then think about how many minutes of exercise you will have added to your movement plan by the end of the year. Better still, think about this…if you DON’T take the stairs and stand in a lift, think about how many LOST opportunities to move you will have squandered a year down the track. If you’re not happy with your body now then make the effort and remember that EVERY MINUTE COUNTS and IT WILL ADD UP! And if you pick up the intensity on these short bursts you will be rewarded even more – up to three times more! This same study found that walking will cut fat levels, but short bursts of sprints on a bike will cut three times more!
The message is simple…exercise…exercise often…pick up the intensity. It all adds up.