Fitness Contrarian Principle # 6 – Do Easy Aerobic Exercise on a Regular Basis
Besides doing your short hard strength and interval work-outs you need to do easy longer aerobic work-outs on a regular basis. This principle can blend into living an active lifestyle (Principle #3) but an active lifestyle can be stop and go, while easy aerobics should be continuous.
It’s real important to do some type of long low-level aerobic activity for good health. What I mean by low level is anywhere from 55% to 70% of your maximum heart rate (on average your maximum heart rate is 220 – your age). You don’t even have to use your heart rate as a guide just walk, bike or do anything aerobic at a comfortable pace for an extended period of time.
Low-level aerobic activity builds a good aerobic base for your body. By having a strong aerobic base your body has an enhanced oxygen delivery system in place. All the systems that deliver oxygen to your muscles will improve by doing long easy aerobic workouts. Another added benefit of easy aerobics is you burn fat as your primary fuel. A low-level activity like walking burns a greater percentage of fat calories than running at more intense levels.
What might be the most important benefit of low-level aerobic activity is that it does not over tax your body. You get all the benefits of an improved cardiovascular system as well as stronger bones, joints and connective tissue without the risk of overdoing it. You can do it as often as you like because it does not require very much time for recovery. So if you like to workout often and for long periods of time keep it easy.
I recommend doing at least two hours of low-level aerobic activity per week. But it can be much longer if you have the time. I like to walk for at least 45 minutes per day whenever possible. What’s nice about these walks is they don’t interfere with my more intense shorter workouts because the walking is easy and very enjoyable for me. When I take these long easy walks I feel like I’m meditating and just relieving stress from my body.
The smart way to stay active is with a combination of hard and easy activities. I always say that working-out easy is just as important as your most difficult work-out.
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Best – Mike Cola