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

Fitness Contrarian

About Mike Cola

Mike Cola has well over 50,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience. He started his own personal training studio in1989, Mike Cola Fitness, which is located in New York.Connect with Mike @ Google+

8 Responses to “Fitness Contrarian Principle # 6 – Do Easy Aerobic Exercise on a Regular Basis”

  1. You make a great point – you need to vary your workouts between low intensity aerobic activities and high intensity resistance training so your body doesn’t get used to your workouts. I have found the best time for my aerobic workouts in first thing in the morning. It gives me a great jump start on my day and is the optimal time for fat burning.

  2. Hey Doug,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Best – Mike

  3. Excellent point about the importance of low intensity exercise. I start every day with a short walk around the block with my dog.

  4. Great post! Mike, do you go out of your way to do those walks as “exercise,” or do you just incorporate them in your day (for example going someplace by foot instead of with your car)?

  5. Hey Yavor,

    That’s a good question. It’s a little bit of both.

    Some days all I do for exercise is take a long walk (it’s like an active rest day). While other days I try to sneak in a walk if I have the time even if I already worked out. Whats nice about these easy walks is that they don’t interfere with my harder workouts. I could do one of your hard Muscle-Up workouts that you recommend on your site Relative Strength Advantage in the morning and still take an easy walk in the evening after dinner without overdoing it.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Best – Mike

  6. Mike,

    Great Post. I agree that you should incorporate low intensity (70% max HR) aerobics. If you stay aerobic you can teach your body to prefer to burn fat and exercise almost indefinitely without getting tired. If you are trying to look years younger this is a great way to torch stored body fat.

  7. Hey Darren,

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Yes, long easy cardio has more benefits then people realize.

    Best – Mike

  8. Hi Mike… Great post! I’m actually doing a 30 mins. cardio exercise at home to start burning those calories that I got from last years holidays…lol… It’s worth the read. Thanks a lot for sharing.