The best way to get in shape may be to spend more time doing
A new and growing body of research, clinical studies and just
plain old experience shows that spending LESS time exercising —
including shorter exercise sessions, less time spent “working”
in each session, and greater time spent recuperating – boosts
your fitness, resiliency and health.
If you read my last blog post, this may sound familiar to you,
because we discussed how you can relax your way to being more
productive. Yes it’s true: the best way to get more done may be
to spend more time doing less.
This definitely goes for exercise. And I’ve been a proponent for
shorter, more “pulsing” type exercise sessions for years now.
I was literally forced into taking more of a pulsing or interval
approach to my training – by my asthma.
As you may know, one of the reasons I really got into breathing
exercises and dynamic energy principles was because I suffered
from moderate to severe asthma (which unfortunately went
undiagnosed for years). I found out the hard way that following
the typical approach to aerobic or cardio activity – which is
to exercise at a steady-state, “aerobic” level for a decent
length of time – was the exact opposite of how you should
exercise if you have asthma.
So, I was forced to change my paradigm. I read and studied the
ins and outs of interval training, adapted it to my situation,
and discovered that I actually got into BETTER shape – with
shorter workouts…more time between workouts (because interval
training is meant to be intense, your body needs more time
between sessions to recover)…and with less actual “work” or
exercise in each workout!
But how can this be? Why is an interval or pulsing approach to
training so results-producing and efficient?
First, let me give you some basics on what interval training
Interval training consists of interspersing brief periods of
intense activity with periods of lower intensity activity or
A boxing match is a great example of intervals: The boxers box
for three minutes, then go to their respective corners for a
one minute rest. They repeat this cycle for 12 rounds.
Interval training arrived on the fitness and sports training
scene in a big way about 25 to 30 years ago. Over time, it has
been proved that a program of intervals, interspersed with
adequate rest periods, is the fastest and most efficient way
to build both anaerobic and aerobic (endurance) capacities.
Here are a few examples of interval training:
– Doing 100-yard sprints interspersed with walking;
– Running up a hill, then walking down;
– Biking for 2 minutes at an accelerated rate of speed, then
slowing down to an easy rate for 2 minutes;
– Walking fast for five minutes interspersed with walking
slowly for five minutes.
Interval training is applicable to just about any activity or
exercise you can think of. Here are a few variations to get
– Lifting weights: Perform an exercise for a certain number
of repetitions (a set); then rest for one to two minutes
between sets before repeating;
– Calisthenics: Perform push-ups or body weight squats for a
certain number of repetitions, or for a certain period of time
(a set); then rest for one minute before repeating;
– Boxing, Kick Boxing: Hit the heavy bag for three-minute
rounds interspersed with one-minute rest periods.
Why is incorporating interval training in your fitness routine
so beneficial? Interval training and its variations are
recognized as the most efficient way to achieve cardiovascular
fitness. Your heart and lungs work hard during the interval.
Then they work even harder during the beginning of the rest
You’re basically pushing your heart, lungs and involved muscles
to new levels of effort – with each interval, and each interval
workout, you literally expand the capacity of your
cardio-pulmonary system. This is so important not only for
fitness, but for your health and longevity.
Here’s another benefit to this type of training:
Performing a series of intervals accelerates fat burning and
weight loss. It also accelerates muscle growth by taxing or
stressing the muscles more intensely, and by stimulating the
release of growth hormone.
And here’s where the “relax to get more fit” comes in:
Incorporating intervals into your fitness regimen reduces the
time required for you to achieve a training effect. Each workout
is shorter. And within each workout, you are actually “working”
much much less than you would doing steady state activity, such
as jogging, doing the elliptical, doing an aerobics class, etc.
And, you get fitter faster.
One last, important point:
You should enjoy your fitness routine. With a properly
structured exercise session, you should feel good when you
finish. You’ll have a warm feeling of tiredness or fatigue – a
”good” tired. You’ll feel great because you’ve moved that body
and completed the most important “to do” of the day.
I’ll have some more pointers for you on my own approach – that
makes interval training even more effective – in my next post.
You Can Do It!
“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
P.S. Breathing and dynamic exercises, like those in the Secret
Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume II are naturally interval
in nature. They give you a surefire way
to target, develop and maximize the work performed by your
lungs, as well as the structures that support proper breathing.
If you’re serious about improving your physical condition and
health, you should make it a point to focus on expanding
your vital capacity and ability to breathe properly. Dynamic
breathing exercise will help you get fit more quickly. And it
provides the foundation for robust health and longevity. Read
more about it by clicking here.
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2013