We all go to the gym to see results from our sweating. Does exercise have to be so hard and uncomfortable to be effective? HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts have become popular because they do work. They push you to your physical limits, but if people are constantly pushing their bodies as hard as they can every workout, they aren't allowing their bodies the time to recover. These types of workouts should be limited to 2-3 times a week.
Trying to decide between HIIT and steady state exercise, here are some benefits of sub-maximal steady state training:
The biggest benefit is strengthening the heart. Maintaining steady state training in the aerobic zone can help the body become efficient at pumping oxygenated blood to the muscles and deoxygenated blood back to the lungs to remove carbon dioxide and be reoxygenated.
To optimize aerobic efficiency during exercise stay at an intensity where breathing is quick, but under control. Using the talk test is a good way to determine the appropriate intensity for optimal aerobic efficiency. When you can talk during exercise you are working at an intensity that is using oxygen to metabolize fat into energy to fuel muscle activity. You should aim to workout at an intensity where you can talk without too much difficulty.
Aerobic steady state training can help the body become more efficient at using fat to fuel muscle activity. At lower intensity, the body metabolizes fat as the primary source of fuel. Higher intensity uses carbs for energy. Training at lower intensity helps the body become efficient at lipolysis which is the breakdown of fatty acids (lipids) into energy.
Because steady state training is less demanding than HIIT, exercising at lower intensity could help reduce the risk of injury. As energy depletes during HIIT there is a tendency to lose form and technique which could cause injuries. For best results from steady state training it’s a good idea to switch exercises so you don't overuse your muscles and risk injury.
Steady state training in the aerobic zone is important for cellular health. Steady state training can increase the number of mitochondria (components of the cell that help convert oxygen to fuel) in muscle cells. Over a long period increasing mitochondria helps improve aerobic efficiency and cellular function which helps slow the aging process.
Steady state training can help with active recovery from harder more challenging workouts. Lower intensity aerobic conditioning can help remove metabolic waste while delivering nutrients that can help repair muscles from previous workouts.
It is better to train smarter than to simply push the body to work harder. Try alternating between low, medium and high intensity workouts so you can achieve long--term success from exercise.
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