https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity...ults/index.htm, but let's be honest here, the CDC recommendation is more of a "please, please America, get off the couch and do SOMETHING, ANYTHING!" Even half an hour a day is kidding yourself. These days, it takes me 20 minutes warmup to get my heartrate up to the point where I can make a hard effort.
For weight loss purposes, 3x20 is even more absurd. You can't burn enough calories to matter in 20 minutes, especially if you're out of shape and don't have the oxygen transfer capacity to go at a high level. Remember, it takes oxygen to burn fuel.
Edit: If you're just starting a fitness-weight loss program, any weight loss the first couple of months has to come mostly from calorie restriction, until you develop the cardiovascular capacity to go harder and longer with your workouts.
Once you're in good shape, weight loss gets easier because you can transfer more oxygen, and burn more calories (fuel) in less time. Also, when you're exercising, your muscles are burning a mix of carbs (glycogen) and fat (free fatty acids). Over time (and lots of miles and hours), the bodies of endurance athletes adapt to using a larger proportion of free fatty acids, so you actually become more efficient at using fat as fuel.
Agree that getting going is the important thing. Doing something you like and will keep doing is more important to long term success than doing the 'best' exercise. Variety can be important as well. Tired of running? Hit the pool today. A 7 mile walk with the dog is still 7 miles, even though you're not rockin' the spandex and there's no stopwatch... and the dog will worship you. After it's nap.- Get a regiment going. Have a specific schedule with specific goals, record your progress, etc. It's advice everyone hears and most ignore, but (at least for me) when I started tracking my progress over time and doing the same things consistently rather than just kinda winging it, I started seeing real progress. Don't just go for a run, try to run faster than last week, or for longer at the same pace. Always be trying to improve.
For some of us, a log is counterproductive. I stopped keeping one early on in my endurance career because I found myself obsessing over times and distances, getting depressed if today wasn't as fast as yesterday, or if I was light on miles this week for some reason. I haven't worn a watch on runs in 30 years, except for races, or days when I have to be on time for something else. Doing "enough" has never been a problem, the workouts are their own reward.
Athletes of every stripe have been doing intervals for thousands of years. They have benefits, and limitations, same as steady-state running, swimming or cycling. You can't do intervals every day. If you're doing it right, you need recovery days in between where you do something else or you'll just end up injured. Typically your pop-fitness versions of intervals are watered down so as not to frighten off couch potatoes. They also typically gloss over warmup and cooldown.Look into interval training. Most research seems to indicate that it's effective and generally better for you than steady state cardio (thinking being that if you just run at a steady pace for an hour every day, your body just gets very efficient at running).
Here's what I would consider an interval session: Jog 2 miles to the high school track (warmup), 12x400 at 90% effort, 90 seconds active rest between 400's, jog 2 miles home as cool down. Surest way to wake up sore and immobile is fail to keep the blood flowing after a hard effort.
If stationary bike or treadmill is your favored poison, try doing it while watching your favorite NFL team. Sprint the commercial breaks. Guarantee that will get your attention....and burn significant calories. If you're a Bears fan like me, the endorphins counteract the depression, and at least the afternoon wasn't entirely wasted.
Yup.- Jump rope. Looks easy, but maintaining a decent pace with a jump rope for an extended period of time is actually an intense workout and burns a lot of calories. It also does a lot for your coordination and stability.
- Try to get into a sport. Find a local "for fun" group in your area. Much easier to motivate yourself to go play floor hockey then go jog for an hour.
- Everything in moderation, and don't over think things. If your goal isn't to be a professional athlete, I feel you don't really have to concern yourself with all the minutia. If you spend any length of time researching nutrition, you quickly find there is a mountain of (mostly conflicting) data and ideas, but the age old wisdom of "eat healthier, get more exercise" really does work, and really is that simple. Just try to eat a variety of generally healthy food and get some exercise and you'll probably be fine.
While you can't log running in circles and jumping to conclusions as exercise, incorporating more activity into your daily life can be effective and time efficient. Look for excuses to walk or bike places rather than drive. It may take a little longer, but when you consider that you're killing two birds with one stone, you're actually saving time.
For more information than you probably wanted: http://www.gssiweb.org/sports-scienc...orts-nutrition
This is real stuff, not marketing or pop-fitness. I did time as a gerbil in their lab, so at least some of the data comes from tubes, hoses and electrodes connected to ol' Maxx.
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