Slow & Steady Wins The Race...Kind Of.
Legs are sore. Walking down stairs is difficult. Exhausted. This is the scenario many of us face after spending an hour plus in the gym at high intensity. Motivation is low and even if we did feel like exercising again, our body feels incapable. For the vast majority of Americans developing a steady workout routine and sticking to it can be challenging.
You've heard you're grandmother say, " everything in moderation." It's true and the research supports it. A study by the the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida found the following:
Sedentary adults (N = 379) were randomly assigned in a 2 x 2 design to walk 30 min per day at a frequency of either 3-4 or 5-7 days per week, at an intensity of either 45%-55% or 65%-75% of maximum heart rate reserve. Prescribing a higher frequency increased the accumulation of exercise without a decline in adherence, whereas prescribing a higher intensity decreased adherence and resulted in the completion of less exercise.
In other words, though who engaged in more frequent and less intense exercise stuck with exercising longer and completed more exercise overall.
What Are The Benefits ?
By choosing frequent, moderate intensity exercise we limit the amount of delayed onset muscle soreness, we decrease the perceived challenge of exercising, and we increase the completion or adherence to our training goals. For example, we are more likely to exercise 30 minutes a day rather than 3 x week for 1 hour plus. This has the advantage of being able to ensure we get the proper amount of movement we need while not taking huge chunks of time from our busy days.
Of course there is no magic bullet for every scenario. In the case of recovering from an injury or training for a competition we may need to modulate the time and intensity of each training session. Also, short interval training may need to be occasionally accompanied by longer training sessions in order to increase endurance.
Movement should be an everyday part of our lives and it is important to employ methods that work to increase our consistency.
David Satterfield, D.C.