BOTTOM LINE: Running at your own pace for just a few minutes per day may extend your lifespan.
Most people know a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and regular exercise reduces mortality. Now new research supports this finding in the case of running. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that running for just five to ten minutes may extend your life by three years. The fascinating aspect of this 15-year study was that the speed, distance, frequency, and duration of running was not as important as running itself. In other words, you can reap the benefits of living longer by running slowly for a few minutes at a time. It's important to keep in mind that this research did NOT prove causation that running increases lifespan but rather that there seems to be a correlation between running and living longer. The research had found a 30 percent lower risk of death among runners compared to non-runners. Those who are more avid runners tend to accrue the most benefit of living longer. Obviously, the health benefits from running such as improved heart and lung function help explain why runners tend to live longer than non-runners.
BOTTOM LINE: Running at your own pace for just a few minutes per day may extend your lifespan.
Fat is a tissue within the body which tends to be predominantly burned during periods of rest as well as during low-intensity cardio (i.e., 65% HRR) . But just because more calories from fat are burned during low-intensity cardio does not mean this is the best way to burn bodyfat. In fact, it takes much longer to burn an equivalent amount of fat performing low-intensity cardio versus high-intensity cardio. In other words, you can burn more calories from fat in less time by performing high-intensity cardio (i.e., 85% HRR) because you burn more calories in general compared to low-intensity cardio. For example, if you perform 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio, you may burn up to 200 calories of which 100 calories came from fat. On the other hand, if you perform the same duration (30 minutes) at twice the intensity, you may burn up to 400 calories of which 160 calories came from fat. Thus, you will burn more fat when performing high-intensity cardio by virtue of burning more calories in general. In addition, high-intensity cardio tends to elevate the metabolic rate for a period after the exercise more so than low-intensity cardio. This means high-intensity cardio promotes an "afterburner" effect in which even more calories are burned from fat several hours post-exercise. If you perform twice the duration of low-intensity cardio in the example above (60 minutes), you will burn more fat calories than high-intensity cardio but the overall calories burned will be about the same compared to high-intensity cardio performed at half the duration (30 minutes). In other words, low-intensity cardio is not an efficient means of burning bodyfat compared to high-intensity cardio.
BOTTOM LINE: High-intensity cardio is the most efficient way to burn bodyfat. Interval training is another means to efficiently burn more fat calories as well.
Prepare yourself for the top foods that contribute to belly fat in our society. Most Americans love these foods but unless these foods are eaten occasionally (i.e., at most once per week), you can kiss your goal of acquiring six-pack abs goodbye.
Here are the worst foods you should resist the urge to eat due to high-calorie content :
Here are better foods you should eat to reduce belly fat:
Also, be sure to exercise to lose bodyfat--emphasize compound, full-body weight training movements and cardio intervals. Bear in mind that spot-reduction is a myth.
A recent study published in Clinical Rehabilitation found that walking can be just as beneficial as strength training in lessening chronic lower back pain. You're never too old or out of shape to walk. Strive to walk for up to 40 minutes to obtain the most benefit of reducing back pain. Gentle yoga may also lessen lower back pain. Be sure to seek the guidance of an experience instructor.
Sprinting is guaranteed to burn bodyfat, particularly when performed in the morning before eating breakfast. Sprinting is a superb fat-fighting exercise because it involves short bursts of energy, significantly elevating your metabolic rate. The recommended manner in which to perform sprints is in an interval fashion with progressive intensity levels as your body adapts to the training stimulus. Never jump right in to full-on sprints at maximum intensity (e.g., 100% HRR) until your body has adapted. Best to gradually work up to intensity levels which are at submaximal intensities (e.g., 70 to 90% HRR). Be sure to take it slow and work up to increased intensity levels. Besides intensity level, consider the frequency and duration of your sprints. Better to be conservative on these aspects as well. Twice per week at 30 to 45 minutes is adequate to achieve fat-burning results when sprinting. Only sprint on a cushioned surface such as a running track, artificial turf or grass--avoid pavement to spare your hip and knee joints. Lastly, be sure to wear a good pair of running shoes with a flat sole--minimus New Balance shoes are ideal.
What's a great low-impact cardio exercise that puts less stress on your back, hips, knees and ankles?
Walking is the best land-based exercise that spares your joints from injury and pain. The best thing about walking is anybody can do it no matter the skill level. To make walking a great cardiovascular workout in which you'll burn more calories, be sure to walk at a quick pace. You should be walking as fast as you can short of running (i.e., about four miles per hour). In order to effectively do this, you should pump your arms with the elbows in a bent position (i.e., about a 90-degree angle) while swiveling your hips. This allows your body to move forward more quickly and efficiently due to less side-to-side movement. Pumping or swinging your arms at the shoulders in sync with your feet also enhances forward momentum. Be sure to maintain good posture by keeping your chin up, head level, shoulders relaxed, and back straight. Speed walking is one of the safest and easiest exercises you can do to get in a superb cardiorespiratory workout. Start with a 20-minute walk three to five times per week and gradually increase the pace on a weekly basis. You can make your walks more interesting by wearing a weighted backpack and/or going on hill walks. You can also try interval walks in which you alternate your pace from fast to a slower speed.
BOTTOM LINE: Research has indicated that those who tend to walk faster have lower mortality rates but any kind of walking is better than no walking at all. Just be sure to put on a pair of comfortable, flexible shoes and get out there and walk!
Besides affecting your cardiovascular and pulmonary system, performing cardio exercise regularly affects your body composition, hormonal system, skeletal system, metabolic system, cognitive sytem, immune system, athletic performance, and quality of life.
Power walking involves walking at a brisk pace (e.g., 5 miles per hour). This is a superb exercise for those who want to spare their joints (e.g., back, hips, knees, ankles) from high impact and for those who may have orthopedic issues (e.g., arthritic knees). Power walking can provide cardiovascular benefits comparable to running. It entails having one foot touching the ground at all times with the front leg being relatively straight when it contacts the ground. To get the most out of power walking, you should strive to move as quickly as possible in order to burn more calories and become more fit. Here are some tips to better your technique and to help move at a faster pace:
Contrary to a popularly-held belief, cardio generally does not burn more calories than weight training. I say "generally" because so many confounding factors play a part (i.e., duration, intensity, interval training, etc.). Taking into account the same duration and comparable intensity levels (i.e., METS), weight training burns more calories than cardio. The primary reason for this is twofold:
BOTTOM LINE: If you want to burn more calories in order to lean out or lose body weight, be sure to lift the weights!
Note: Steady-state cardio generally does not cause EPOC although interval and HIIT cardio sessions do cause EPOC.
The answer is simple although the people who use these machines probably are not aware of why they use them. The reason people tend to opt for the elliptical machine rather than most other machines is because it's very easy on the joints and does not require much resistance to move the body. In other words, the elliptical machine is the easiest cardio activity to do. Because it is easy, people naturally want to use it rather than to try a machine that might take them out of their comfort zone.
The elliptical machine can be very useful for older adults or those with arthritis, but for most people it's not a very efficient tool to burn calories. The winner in the caloric expenditure department goes to the treadmill, followed by (from highest to lowest caloric expenditure) the stairstepper (stepmill), the rowing machine, the upright bike, and finally the recombinant bike.
The reality is that, in general, the elliptical machine does not elevate the heart rate nor does it burn bodyfat adequately. This is due to the fact that movement on these machines relies primarily on momentum rather than resistance. Momentum is simply the product of a body's mass and its velocity. Just as in weight training, if you move the joints quickly (increasing velocity), momentum increases while resistance decreases. The net result is essentially less real work being done since less force (resistance) is exerted. Now you know why people like to move quickly on the elliptical machines: it makes the exercise easier!
No matter which machine you choose, be sure not to lean most of your bodyweight on the hand rails for support. These railings are designed for your balance, not for support. By leaning predominantly on these railings, you'll reduce your caloric expenditure because your lower body will not be working as hard as it should. Straighten your posture by pulling your shoulders back and looking straight ahead. Rest your hands lightly on the rails to get an optimum workout. If you still cannot resist leaning heavily on the rails, you need to reduce the intensity on the machine--you're pushing way too hard. On the other hand, if you can read a book or comfortably breathe through your nose while doing cardio, your intensity level is way too low. Step up the intensity!
Bottom line: if you want to burn serious calories, you have to work hard to do it--sorry, working out on the elliptical machine does not qualify, in most cases, as hard work. Get out of your comfort zone and hit the treadmill, stairstepper or rower instead.