You know you should be moving – both health gurus and Mother Nature advocates it, BUT….
You are quite literally run off you feet with ALL the stuff you have to do, finding 30 plus minutes a day, to run round the block three times, literally or figuratively (on the treadmill), is IMPOSSIBLE.
It turns out, running for the bus, is actually a better workout.
Dashing into fitness
Researchers from Scotland found fast and furious, trumped low and long, when they drafted a bunch of out of shape adolescents into their 7 week fitness programme.
Forty seven boys and ten girls volunteered to take part in the fitness programme. They had to perform three weekly exercise sessions, for 7 weeks whilst the team kept tabs on their vital statistics.
Half were assigned to the fast and furious group, officially performing, high intensity training. The other half followed a more traditional low and long training schedule, categorized as moderate training, during each work out.
Jogging round the block
The low and long routine involved jogging for a period of 20 minutes. The level of exertion was described as moderate.
By the end of the study, these guys had notched up an impressive 420 minutes of exercise, burning an whopping 4410 kcal in the process.
The teens completing this gruelling schedule, were definitely fitter, showing improvements in cardio respiratory fitness, blood pressure, body composition and insulin sensitivity.
The dashers also did it
The fast and furious group who were performing high intensity exercise, which involves a series of 30 second sprints i.e. running as hard as you can for a short period of time, also demonstrated the same improvements. There overall cardio respiratory fitness, blood pressure, body composition and insulin sensitivity all improved too.
But they got this cardiovascular advantage, only expending 907 kcal and exercising for a mere 63 MINUTES i.e. they spent 15 % of the time exercising, while getting 100 % of the benefit.
Run like your life depends on it
Primitive man is unlikely to have gone for an afternoon run, just for fun. He may have taken a walk, but it seems doubtful, he ran when he needed to get from point A to point B.
Running was more than likely reserved for life and death situations. Being chased by something would have constituted such a situation – a hungry lion / an angry warthog, would have provided the necessary motivation to get off the “couch” and run like hell.
Run to catch up
In the modern world, there is little necessity to run away from things, so this motivation to run is unfortunately missing.
However, life is moving so fast, catching up is a continuous battle. If you think about it, opportunities abound to run towards things …. especially if you are sufficiently disorganized and poor at time keeping.
For example, you may find yourself dashing for…
- the bus, especially when the next one is 3 hours from now
- that connecting flight, in the other terminal building
- the elevator, before the door shuts closed
- the bank, post office or other public entity which keeps “odd” hours
- the class with the cranky professor, who throws a wobbly when you walk in a tiny bit late
Keeping fit could be just a matter of running late
So you don’t have enough time to exercise – yeah, right.
If you make a concerted effort to run a little more during your busy day, you won’t have to waste 30 minutes at the gym, three to five times a week.
PS. You might need to ditch the high heels and tights to implement this strategy – keep your takkies permanently strapped on, it might also be advisable to carry a little deodorant with at all times, as well.
On a serious note, the evidence is trickling in…..high intensity training is a great way to get fit if you’re on a tight time budget. The added benefit is, it doesn’t require expensive equipment – all you really need is a flat clear piece of pavement or stretch of grass and a little commitment.The effects of time and intensity of exercise on novel and established markers of CVD in adolescent youth. American Journal of Human Biology (2011) 23(4):517-526. Duncan S. Buchan, Stewart Ollis, John D. Young, Non E. Thomas, Stephen-Mark Cooper, Tom K. Tong, Jinlei Nie, Robert M. Malina, Julien S Baker.
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