Carving 30 minutes out of your busy day is an accomplishment to be proud of. If you’ve done it, and you stick to a routine, that’s great.
Now, hold on for just a second.
That’s the sound of the other shoe dropping.
Thirty minutes might not be enough exercise. Here’s why:
Let’s say you are exercising at a low to moderate intensity for thirty minutes, maybe walking on a treadmill or outdoors. You might feel invigorated when you are done, but you probably haven’t accomplished much. You won’t have elevated your heart rate high enough or long enough to achieve beneficial cardiovascular effects.
If you’re strength training, either using your body weight or pumping a little iron, 30 minutes of low to moderate intensity is light work. You aren’t challenging the muscles. Your body will not secrete enough of the growth hormones that fuel your metabolism and help your body build lean muscle.
Here’s another thought. How much can you do in thirty minutes? You can do one type of exercise. A walk. A dance. Some lifting. For genuine fitness, you need cardiovascular exercise and strength training. You need to work on flexibility. You need time for joint mobilization and joint stability exercises. You should probably work on your balance. Hard to do it all in 30 minutes.
Thirty easy or moderate minutes is a nice place to start if you are a beginner, or if you have been hurt, or if you are elderly. But the real gains from exercise come from longer, more balanced workouts.
High intensity, short duration workouts are popular these day. Maybe you will recognize the Crossfit brand. Crossfitters are today what marathon runners and triathletes were in the past. They consider themselves the real workout warriors. They thrive on extremes. There are other workouts out there labelled HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. In HIIT and Crossfit workouts you do a lot of work in a little bit of time. You’re done in 30 minutes.
Crossfit and HIIT workouts are intense, no doubt about it. Picture yourself doing 25 pull ups, 30 push ups, and 50 squats holding a 45 pound weight plate over your head. Think about repeating that sequence as many times as possible in 20 minutes. Maybe you get through five rounds. Next time you do that workout, you challenge yourself to get through six or eight rounds in the same amount of time.
I’m tired just writing about it.
Yes, you can build a stronger fitter, body doing that. You can also wreck your body. One mistake in form and you’ve got an injury that could take a month to heal.
Plus, you’ve got to be extremely fit to begin with, just to see the gains from that type of workout.
Thirty hard minutes: potentially counterproductive, and not for everybody. Thirty easy minutes: not enough work unless you’re a beginner.
The fact is to enjoy the health benefits of exercise, which are many, you need to carve out more than just thirty minutes. You need a balanced approach that provides time for cardio, strength training, flexibility, mobility and balance.
You don’t have to do it all at once. You can schedule different times for different routines. You don’t need to include every component in every workout. Do cardio today. Do strength tomorrow. Work in the other components when you have time.
And don’t go all out all the time. You need intense portions in almost every workout. You have to challenge yourself with heavy weights. You need to push your heart rate up into the to the top of your zone now and then. But not for the whole workout.
Remember: moderation is found in balancing the hard work with time for recovery.
And remember to rest. Your body changes and builds during the recovery, during the time off, not during the workout. A day off isn’t a sign you are slacking. It can also mean you are recovering.
Oh, by the way, we have some products that might speed up your recovery. NNS Orange Energy will help get you moving for workouts. Our Doctor’s Whey Protein, for example, will provide nutrition that helps your muscles heal and grow after a workout. You can find it in the our estore. And don’t forget to check out products for inflammation and joint health, which you may need for aches, pains and other kinds of soreness.