Exercise Less To Be More Fit
Sounds too good to be true, right? A recent study showed that the amount of exercise is what matters not the frequency. The study involved over 2,000 participants who were asked to wear accelerometers to track their physical activity. The findings indicated participants who exercised for a total of 150 minutes over a day or two versus participants who spread their 150 minutes out over a week’s time received the same health benefits of the workouts.
This is good food for thought. New “evidence” is constantly surfacing about the latest in health and nutrition. Its hard to know whats accurate. Six out of seven days of the week, you’ll find me up at 5:30 am getting ready for my workouts which last 45-60 minutes. How is it even possible to cram that much exercise into a day or two? And even if it was possible, it doesn’t seem realistic it would produce the same health benefits. Surely, I would collapse from exhaustion before I was even halfway through; that doesn’t sound very healthy. I may not ever find out the answer to that, but I have a couple guesses. When reading studies like these, you’ve got to take into consideration what isn’t being said as much as what is being said. For instance, the author defines “health benefits” as a decrease in risk factors such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. A health benefit to me is those things plus a leaner body with less fat and more muscle. However, the study doesn’t mention taking it to that level. In that case, a participant who didn’t exercise at all and then started exercising 150 a minutes a week within the time frame of a couple of days, of course, would receive those health benefits.
Common sense is our friend. I love staying up to date on current health and nutrition news, but I take it all with a grain of pink himalayan salt. I have to consider the source, the context, and most importantly, what works for me. Working out six days a week works for me. I’m a nicer person when I work out, I feel more prepared for chasing around two small children, and I like having that time at the beginning of the day all to myself while the rest of the world sleeps peacefully. All in all, I don’t think I’ll be testing out this theory anytime soon. What about you?
Fadi Malouf – Nutritionist and Personal Trainer