Moderate Intensity Workouts
High Intensity Workouts?
For many years the most prescribed way to burn calories in a short period of time was the use of high intensity cardio workouts. While this method burns calories, a sustained practice of high intensity workouts results in burnout, overuse injuries and overtraining. At the end of the day, many women abandon their time in the gym for less strenuous and demanding things - often leaving fitness for "someone else".
High intensity workouts do have their place, but research and time has shown us that their place is not necessarily in our daily workout schedule. It is fine to include high intensity workouts a couple of times a week, but a steady diet can be destructive. A 20-minute workout at a fast pace, using any machine or activity can be very effective. Stay within the parameters of a high intensity workout (80 to 90% of your maximum heart rate), for a full twenty minutes and you'll get the job done. Anything more than that is excess and you will probably find that 20 minutes is more than enough.
Interval Training - Its Time Has Come
Interval training is considered to be the new "up-and-comer", although it's been around for a long time. Alternate a hard segment lasting about 60 seconds with a recovery segment of one to two minutes. By repeating this series for the length of your workout (20 to 30 minutes) you will give your body the benefit of a hard workout and the advantage of a restoration period. You won't burn yourself out and you'll garner the benefits.
Moderate intensity cardio exercise has a number of definitions, but it typically falls at 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate, or at a level of four to six on the perceived exertion scale. This is the recommended level of exertion prescribed by the American College of Sports Medicine in their exercise guidelines. The now-famous "fat burning zone" falls into the lower range of this style of training. Your guide will be your ability to carry on a conversation without difficulty and you will feel comfortable during the process.
The Benefits of Moderate Intensity Workouts
Moderate intensity workouts have benefits that include workouts at a more comfortable pace, which means you are more likely to stay with your program. Moderate activity can improve your fitness and lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure at the same time. One of the great bonuses of moderate intensity exercise is that you can achieve your heart rate zone without going at a fast pace. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, and sweeping the deck (if done vigorously enough) can get you into the zone effectively.
If you are planning to use exercise as an aid to losing weight, then moderate intensity cardio should make up the majority of your workouts.