Guidelines For Optimal Aerobic Exercise
By Dr. Mercola
Research has shown that replacing long cardio sessions with shorter, high-intensity burst-type exercises, such as Peak 8, actually produces GREATER results and in far less time!
Four years ago, the American College of Sports Medicine issued new guidelines on exercise, stating it must be “tough” in order for you to reap physiological benefits. This may seem confusing to some of you, so let’s reiterate a couple of key points you should always keep in mind, namely moderation, and individualization.
That said, their updated guidelines falls in line with other research showing the superior health benefits of high-intensity exercise.
In essence, it’s the intensity, not the duration, that is critical for producing optimal results. But again, the optimal intensity will vary from person to person.
As described in my Peak 8 program, after a three minute warm up, you want to raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90 second recovery period. Then repeat that cycle for a total of eight repetitions.
To perform the sprint portion properly, you will want to get very close to, if not exceed, your maximum heart rate by the last interval. Your maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus your age. (Keep in mind you’ll need a heart rate monitor to measure this as it is nearly impossible to accurately measure your heart rate manually when it is above 150.)
These cycles are preceded by a three minute warm up and one and a half minute cool down so the total time investment is about 40 minutes, but the actual sprinting totals only four minutes!
But how is it possible to get better results with less exercise?
The “Magic” Factor of High-Intensity Exercise
The reason for this is because high-intensity exercises engage a certain group of muscle fibers that you cannot engage through aerobic cardio, and these engaging these muscle fibers cause a cascade of positive health benefits.
First, you need to understand that you have three different types of heart muscle fibers:
We now know that in order to naturally increase your body’s production of human growth hormone (HGH), you must engage your super-fast heart muscle fibers.
HGH is a vital hormone that is KEY for physical strength, health and longevity.
Neither traditionally performed aerobic cardio nor conventional strength training will work anything but your slow muscle fibers, and hence has no impact on production of HGH. On the contrary, it can unfortunately cause the super fast fibers to decrease or atrophy, further impeding natural HGH production.
Power training or plyometrics burst types of exercises will engage your fast muscle fibers, but only high-intensity burst cardio, such as Peak 8 exercises, will engage your super fast fibers and promote HGH, and that is the “magic” factor that explains why it’s so much more beneficial for you than traditional aerobic cardio.
Benefits of Peak Fitness Exercises
Once you regularly participate in these 20 minute exercises about twice a week, most people notice that it allows you to:
- Lower your body fat
- improve muscle tone
- Firm your skin and reduce wrinkles
- Boost energy and sexual desire
- Improve athletic speed and performance
- Achieve your fitness goals faster
“Bullet-Proof” Your Heart with the Right Type of Exercise
The take-home message here is that one of the best forms of exercise to protect your heart is short bursts of exertion, followed by periods of rest.
By exercising in short bursts, followed by periods of recovery, you recreate exactly what your body needs for optimum health. Heart attacks don’t happen because your heart lacks endurance. Heat attacks happen during times of stress, when your heart needs more energy and pumping capacity, but doesn’t have it.
If you have a history of heart disease or any concern, please get clearance from your health care professional before you start doing Peak 8 exercises. However, most people of average fitness will be able to do them—it is only a matter of how much time it will take you to build up to the full 8 reps.
The beautiful thing about this approach is that if you are out of shape you simply will be unable to train very hard as the lactic acid will quickly build up in your muscles and prevent you from over stressing your heart.
Symptoms You Can’t Ignore – Exercise for improving superficial circulation and other remedies