By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
December 1, 2017
- What type of exercise is best for you?
- Aerobics vs. strength training
- Here’s a supercharged way to get the best of both worlds
One thing that shouldn’t be confusing is the concept of exercise. Still, I find that many of my new patients are perplexed when it comes to the “right kind of exercise”.
Some folks jog or run for an hour or more every day. That’s because they’ve heard about all of the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise. And it’s true. Aerobics do support the health of your heart, lungs and blood pressure.
However, can you imagine any scenario when your ancestors ran for hours on end on a daily basis?
Of course not. They ran when they were in danger. The rest of the time, they went about their daily activities.
Ultimately, the human body was never intended to spend long periods of time running, day after day. And if cardio is the only form of exercise you participate in, you miss out on the muscle-building and fat-burning benefits of other forms of physical activity.
What about Strength Training?
I find that many people are confused about the difference between strength training and resistance training. Don’t worry. They are pretty much the same thing.
Both of these terms simply describe exercise that uses resistance to build muscle. In some cases the resistance can be your own body weight, like when you do push-ups and squats. In others, it can involve resistance bands or weight machines. Weight lifting is another form of strength training.
Well, here’s the thing. It’s true that all of these types of exercise increase strength and muscle tone.
But once again, if all you are doing is building and maintaining muscle, you aren’t doing much to support your heart and lung health.
So what is the answer?
Well, there is a way to get the best of both worlds… and put it into overdrive. And it takes less than a half an hour a day.
You don’t have to run for hours on end. You don’t need any weights at all. You don’t even have to pay for en expensive gym membership.
Aerobics vs. Strength Training: Supercharged way to Get the Best of Both Worlds
I’m talking about a type of exercise called high intensity interval training, or HIIT. It’s a supercharged combination of short, intense aerobic activities and strength training.
The basic concept is to start out with short bursts of intense activity followed by a minute or two of rest. Then, as you progress to better health and stamina, you increase intensity and repetitions while – at the same time – taking shorter rest periods.
Here’s a sample 6-day workout to get you started (the 7th day is for rest):
Days one, three and five: After warming up for a few minutes, do a 30-second sprint—walking or running as fast as you can. Walking is recommended if you’re someone who is new to exercise or has never run on a consistent basis. Then, follow it up with two to four minutes of easy walking. Repeat four to six times. The workout ends with a three to four minute cool-down.
As it becomes easier, try increasing the intensity of the sprint and shortening your rest time. (i.e., a 30 second full-out burst, followed by lesser and lesser minutes of easy walking.)
Days two, four and six: Choose two or three different resistance exercises that suit your physical level. Almost anyone can perform planks, bridges and chair dips. More difficult resistance exercises include squats, lunges and pushups.
Then, simply perform one exercise for 30 seconds. Take a short break then move onto the next exercise and do it for 30 seconds. After a final break, move on to the final exercise.
Once complete, repeat the set three more times.
As always, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Ziemann E, et al. Aerobic and anaerobic changes with high-intensity interval training in active college-aged men. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Apr;25(4):1104-12.
Roxburgh BH, et al. Is moderate intensity exercise training combined with high intensity interval training more effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness than moderate intensity exercise training alone? J Sports Sci Med. 2014 Sep 1;13(3):702-7.