Of all the varied exercise programs available today, from power lifting and body building to yoga and Pilates, one form of exercise is essential.
Taxing the heart and lungs through sustained aerobic exercise is essential, as part of an overall fitness program.
Aerobic exercise, defined as a repeated and rhythmic use of major muscle groups over an extended period of time is paramount.
Nobody ever died, because they were unable to bench press 300 pounds or complete 100 sit-ups.
The most important muscle in the body, unquestionably, is the heart. To keep it operating at peak efficiency, the heart needs to be challenged, with increasingly difficult exercise programs, to become stronger and more efficient.
The question then becomes, how much, how often, and what kinds of exercise produce a positive effect on the tremendously valuable heart muscle.
For many years, the research seemed to support the theory, that a particular regimen of aerobic exercise (with oxygen) over a specific amount of time, completed a certain number of days per week, was minimal.
This regimen, to many, was daunting and unattainable, placing many people on the sidelines. More recent studies have shown that a more moderate level of cardiovascular exercise performed regularly, could produce excellent results.
Joggers didnt need to be sprinters, and walkers didnt need to be joggers. In fact, the requisite 30 minute minimum bouts could be replicated, with three ten-minute sessions.
Theres a reason the treadmill is the most popular piece of cardio equipment in any gym. Everyone knows how to, and is comfortable walking.
Experts have seen saying for years, that getting up and walking, is an excellent, and easy, path to personal fitness. Many people dont believe that putting on a good pair of walking shoes and hitting the street, can have a positive effect on their heart health.
On the other hand, theres walking and theres walking. Normal, everyday walking, done over sufficient periods of time, and daily, will increase your cardiovascular healthy. But to supercharge your walking time, lets look at an alternate routine.
Interval training presents the opportunity to get twice the workout, in about half the time.
Internal training is about increasing your heart rate in short bursts. It takes more energy to increase, and decrease, your heart rate, than working at a steady rate. Short bursts at elevated intensity increase caloric expenditure, and the resultant increased weight loss.
Interval walking can basically be designed to mirror your individual fitness level. For example, lets look at the total scale as being 1 to 10. Level one would be lounging in front of your T.V., while level 10 would be an all-out sprint.
Begin your walking workout with five minutes, at a moderate pace. This pave would represent a 6 or 7 on your personal scale. For the next 5 minutes, increase your level to an 8 or 9. Alternating the two paces will have a positive effect, in a shorter period of time, and burn more calories.
The final step in any cardio routine is the cool-down. At this time you slowly allow your heart to return to normal. This portion of the routine is extremely important, as you have taxed your heart and you need to give it time to recover.
Again return to your personal scale, and slowly bring your heart rate down to the 2-4 range, and safely return to normal.
Abrupt cessation of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise is dangerous. Warm-ups and cool-downs are very important.
Also, recent research supports the theory, that three ten-minute bouts of exercise are as valuable as one thirty-minute workout.
Most importantly do it. Just do it. Walk you dog everyday, even if you dont have a dog.