Without writing a book, I want people to realize, know, discover, acknowledge the truth behind the large Return On Investment (improved fitness/health/wellness) to the small amount of time/effort one actually has to spend in order to receive this benefit.
The human body can more or less be broken down into 2 divisions that are largely affected by exercise or lack of. There’s the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones and connective tissues i.e. tendons, ligaments, cartilage) and the cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory system (lungs, heart, blood vessels, blood, oxygen). They’re inseparable and co-dependent SO it’s NOT optimal to train one system and not the other, which is what most people who attempt exercise end up doing. In fact, training both is really simple.
You do aerobic activity that is intense enough (none of that chatty treadmill walking nonsense) to cause you to sweat and perhaps even not be able to talk in complete sentences. Labored breathing! What you do isn’t so important as frequency and duration. Here’s the time thing. Do it for 20 min.! Consistently…everyone blows this rule. Even me from time to time and I pay the price. Be consistent! Consistency means you do it 3-5 days per week. 3 is good and 5 is better – that simple. Aerobic efforts need not be more than 20 min. IF done as described – exertion not conversation!
You do some form of resistance training. I’ll use my mom as an example of what a soon-to-be 60yr old boomer can and should do. Push ups! Off a wall or in her case I tell her to find the Smith machine at the local big box she goes to and do push ups till she can’t (muscle failure). She sets that bar anywhere from chest to waist height and starts pushing to failure. Then again and again (at least 3 sets)…c’mon MOM! She does body squats and if she’s feeling peppy she can use dumbbells or a kettlebell for added resistance. She and everyone need to work the whole body. Front, back, upper and lower. So, posterior (back) is next. Seated rows! Lat pull down (done correctly)… Done! Probably lasts all of 30 min.
Resistance training, IF done consistently, need be done 2x / week and never on back to back days. A little aerobic in-between (active recovery) or even a full rest day (full recovery) is warranted. More is not necessarily better. Rest & recovery are as critical as the activity.
Back to my initial point…. The health benefits garnered from consistently adhering to this protocol (fancy shmancy word) are simply:
On the cardio side of things, you (geez where do I start) become more insulin sensitive (no diabetes or perhaps reverse your diabetes), your blood pressure normalizes, LADIES – your bone-density increases, your oxygen uptake/delivery ability improves in both your lungs and your almighty heart. Your HDL (good) cholesterol goes up and the “bad” (LDL) goes down. MEN – your testosterone levels INCREASE! I’m thinking of at least 4 medications (statins, BP meds, insulin, hormone therapy…) and a lot of $$$ that you’re no longer requiring or will not require.
On the resistance-training side of things you increase both the strength and endurance ability of your muscles (means everything you normally do which requires your muscles, i.e. everything but sitting and sleeping – will be easier), you develop stronger connective tissues (means your potential for injury is reduced), and you look & feel like a God/Goddess!
Relatively speaking, the above effort takes very little time. It took me longer to brush my teeth, wash my face, find my shoes, holler for some toilet paper, etc. this morning than it did to do my jog and my 4x400meter sprints this morning. Each lap took me approx.. 1min,20sec. (don’t laugh). Point being, the getting ready/prepared and the drive to your gym are gonna take longer than the actual effort.
Soooo, wouldn’t it be cool if all you had to do is wake up and your trainer was there with the necessary equipment, the schedule already designed and a hot cup of joe to get your other eye open? Or wouldn’t it be cool to be able to go straight home from work and have that same trainer there so you can get it on, enjoy the effort and enjoy the benefit of minimal time investment with maximum health benefit.
That would be VERY COOL! You agree?!