For some people, exercise is a way life. For others, it’s another line on their “To-Do” list that adds more stress to your life, rather than relieving it. Regardless, I always emphasize the concept of “minimum effective dose” to my clients; how little can you do to get the maximum possible benefit? looking to get the biggest gains for the least amount of effort
Unfortunately, most people sit at a desk all day long and the research shows the average adult sits at least eight hours per day, meaning you’ll likely spend half of your adult life (outside of sleeping) sitting in a chair!(1) This leaves little time to get to the gym and fit in a workout. Making things worse, too much sitting increases your risk for weight gain, diabetes, joint pain, cardiovascular disease, and many cancers.(2) In fact, did you know that chronic sitting is just as dangerous to your health as smoking!(3)
I’ve got a secret to tell you… you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get fit, lose weight and improve your health. You just need to be more efficient with what you do.
My Weight Loss Resolution #3 this New Year is for you to kick your old “chronic cardio” habit to the curb and add high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The research shows that short, intense bursts of exercise produce far more powerful changes in body composition than steady-state cardio. That’s right, HIIT exercise helps build a greater VO2 max (a reliable marker for aerobic fitness), burns more far calories than traditional cardio and is just as good as for your heart as steady-state aerobic training.
To get started, after a gentle 3-5 minute warm-up find a stationary bike or space to run outside (on grass, if possible). Sprint for 30 seconds, then take 90 seconds to rest. Repeat this for 5 rounds and you’re finished! If you haven’t sprinted in awhile, be sure to start slow and build up your intensity. (In my new book The Paleo Project, I outline an 8-week strength training and HIIT protocol for beginner and advanced trainees!)
If you haven’t been active in awhile or can’t run without pain, try doing HIIT walking intervals. After a gentle warm-up, increase your cadence for two to three minutes, followed by four to six minutes at a slower, steadier. pace. Aim for at least 7,000 steps per day to kick-start your weight loss and upgrade your health. An added bonus, new studies show walking is a great way to reduce stress and symptoms of pain.(4)
Don’t get stuck behind your desk all year. Be efficient with your time and add more HIIT cardio to your routine. If you can stick to this new habit, along with the new habits I discussed in Weight Loss Resolution #1 and #2, you'll be looking and feeling great in the New Year!
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS
READ MORE IN THE "WEIGHT LOSS RESOLUTIONS" SERIES...
1) Hamilton M et al. Too Little Exercise and Too Much Sitting: Inactivity Physiology and the Need for New Recommendations on Sedentary Behavior. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. 2008 July; 2(4): 292-298.
2) Hamilton M et al. Role of low energy expenditure and sitting in obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Diabetes. 2007 November; 56(11): 2655-2667.
3) Wilmot E, et al. Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia. 2012 Nov;55(11):2895-905.
4) Thogersen-Ntoumani C et al. Changes in work affect in response to lunchtime walking in previously physically inactive employees: A randomized trial. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015; 25 (6):778-87.