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Deal With Stress

Can Aerobic Exercise Be Counter-Productive?

Working out and wondering can aerobic exercise be counter-productiveRecently, we explored how much exercise we really need.  We discovered that the most important thing is to get up and move on a consistent basis.  Almost any movement is exponentially more beneficial than being sedentary.  Your body is made to move. But can aerobic exercise be counter-productive?

Almost every physiological function benefits from regular exercise.  Your heart, lung, brain, and immune functions improve dramatically with regular exercise.  You raise your metabolism and energy levels while lowering your risk for heart disease, high-blood pressure, and diabetes, to name just a few.  Exercise is also one of the best ways to de-stress and activate your body’s natural relaxation response.  To be healthy, you need to engage in some consistent forms of cardio, strength, flexibility, and mind-body training.

Today, let’s explore what is the best cardio-vascular exercise.  There is growing research that suggests that the common prescription of 30-60 minutes of moderate, steady-pace aerobic exercise 5 days per week is either lacking or even counter-productive for health and for weight loss.  Yet, this type and intensity of exercise is still the standard advice.

Several studies show that this type of aerobic exercise may actually lower cardio-respiratory capacity and lead to increased body-fat storage.  Why is that?

First, exercising at a steady pace for a long period of time trains your heart and lung capacity to downsize to become more efficient.  This may actually make you less able to handle cardio-respiratory demands and more susceptible to heart attacks.  Excessive endurance training also increases inflammation in your body, wears out your joints, and increases muscular tightness.

In addition, exercising in your fat-burning zone may actually signal your body to store body-fat, so that it is available as energy for this type of activity.

What type of aerobic exercise is better instead?

The answer is interval training—alternating short bursts of higher intensity exercise with lower intensity recovery periods.  The key is to push your cardio-pulmonary limits, recover, and repeat several times.  For example, after a short warm-up walking, biking, swimming, or doing a cardio machine, push your pace to the point where you are breathing deeply and rapidly, then lower your intensity until you recover your breath.  Repeat for a period of 12-20 minutes and not longer.  Follow this with a brief cool-down.  You might begin by pushing yourself for 30 seconds to a minute and then recovering for 1-2 minutes.  Gradually decrease your recovery time until you are working hard for one minute and recovering for one minute (repeating for 12-20 minutes).

Not only will this make your aerobic workouts more efficient and productive, but you’ll find yourself with more energy, less boredom, and all the health benefits that you are expecting from taking the time to exercise.

Categories
Deal With Stress

Stress Relief Exercise Ideas For a Healthier You

Biling is one way how to beat depression with exerciseEach of use deals with stress each day. Demands on our time, money troubles, relationship issues – all of this can cause large amounts of stress. Stress takes its toll on the emotional, bodily and mental levels of our person. While some stress can actually be good for your health, excessive, prolonged stress increases your chances for disease, makes your cells age more quickly, and can lead to a sense of constant fatigue and malaise.

The best way to combat stress, of course, is to avoid getting stressed out in the first place. However, this is not a realistic option for most people. Stress has become a fact of life for most of us almost as much as has eating, sleeping and breathing.

The next-best way to combat stress is to find ways to reduce or alleviate stress. By taking the right actions, you can actually reduce your stress levels, resulting in a happier, healthier you.

Physical exercise is one excellent way to reduce stress. There are three types of physical exercise: stretching, cardiovascular, and resistance training. Here are more details about these stress relief exercise ideas that you can benefit from:

Stretching exercises help to stimulate the nervous system in ways that reduce the body’s production of stress hormones. Stretching also reduces overly-tight muscles, thereby increasing circulation throughout the body.

Cardiovascular – or aerobic – exercise involves any constant body movement performed for at least 20-30 minutes (preferably 3-4 days per week) that increases the heart rate and gets blood flowing throughout the body. Running, swimming, walking, rowing and other types of sports are all ways to work the cardiovascular system. Elevating your heart rate for extended periods of time contributes to better blood flow and the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pleasure chemicals. All of these factors contribute to reduced levels of stress.

Meanwhile, resistance training – also called strength training – helps build muscle tone and mass. Besides improving posture and reducing the chances for bodily injuries, resistance training also leads to the release in the body of stress-reducing endorphins.

Bonus tip: try exercising outdoors in a natural environment (away from cars and other polluted places). The increased levels of fresh air and, when available, sunlight contribute to a more stress-free experience. And, when possible, try working out with other people. Having an exercise buddy can keep you motivated to continue with regular exercise. And, doing so adds a social dimension to the experience which can be help reduce stress, as well.

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