The benefits of regular physical activity to health, longevity, well being and protection from serious illness have long been established. They easily surpass the effectiveness of any drugs or other medical treatment. The challenge for everyone, young and old alike, is to build these benefits into their daily lives.
Developing your aerobic system will prevent you dying from a cardiovascular related death – kills 1 in 3 and more than any other disease in the last 100 years. When it comes to survival and life the aerobic system is king and the most important thing to develop if your goal is to live a long and happy life.
Another term used for fitness – conditioning – is typically associated with athletes and professional sports teams, however, anyone and everyone has the ability to improve their conditioning. Unfortunately, most peoples’ interpretations of conditioning include ‘harder’ and ‘faster’ and the craze of high intensity interval training or HIIT. Concepts such as F45 and boot camps have popularised this notion. These are great for all sorts of reasons, it improves your physical activity levels, creates an environment for people to make friends and ultimately a fitness community to keep you accountable and motivated. However, there are better ways of improving your conditioning levels.
Increase the functional capacity of the heart itself to deliver more oxygen to working muscles and supporting tissues.
Capacity is the keyword here and it’s how we program at Fitpluswell. Someone returning to fitness after a few years leading a sedentary life – we have to develop the central components of the aerobic system – the cardiovascular system itself.
The heart is very adaptable, flexible and capable of delivering much more volumes of blood when it is trained to do so, hence we perform long slow intervals of up to 30 mins or more for our new members or those returning to exercise.
The intervals are deliberately long and less intense allowing them the opportunity to build their capacity to work longer without feeling fatigued. Straight up, that’s the rule, it’s not just our rule but of any good trainer. One should not be in a rush to smash out a 30s on 30s off, that’s the ultimate and one must earn the right to do shorter burst of work correctly.
..return to the bike for 20 cals and continue this trend until you need to stop or have reached over 60 mins. But how do you know when to stop – when you cannot perform any more push-ups…perhaps but ideally no. When you start the workout start your stopwatch. When you finish the wall sit press your lap timer on the stopwatch. Start your second interval and the next time you complete your wall sit, press the lap timer again. If your times are the same continue. If you’re times are considerable different you have over paced and stop.
Finally, you can also a heart rate monitor and keep your heart rate between 120-150bpm.
What I like most about the lap timer and repeatable rounds is that it “gamifies” the training for you and you’re accountable every week to equal, slightly improve that time or simply continue for longer. This will keep your motivation levels high to continue to improve your aerobic fitness and conditioning.