Some recent discoveries by scientists have debunked various long held theories on exercise. Certainly a new era is awakening in this regard.
As all of these revelations have been uncovered by conventional scientists at traditional universities, their results can be classified as reliable.
Main picture: Conventional exercise regimen
Duration & intensity of exercise
Conventional wisdom today mandates that one must perform at least a few hours of exercise per week. Furthermore whether this exercise is performed in one bout or many discrete training sessions is considered to be immaterial.
What does science now specify in both aspects? Surprisingly not what we think.
Firstly as regards the weekly duration, tests now conclusively prove that 7 minutes per week of exercise is sufficiently beneficial as regards cardiac fitness, level of glucose in the blood and the effectiveness of insulin. However there is a caveat: how this exercise is performed & its intensity.
The daily regimen consists of spinning flat-out for 20 seconds. After a recovery period, two further cycles of 20 seconds must be performed. From the tests performed on human guinea pigs, it is the intensity of the exercise, which sparks the body’s release of various chemicals. In fact, that 60 seconds per day is more beneficial than an hour’s jog.
Certainly the aforementioned exercise has little impact upon one’s weight or psychological wellbeing. Those people with stressful jobs would still benefit enormously from a 5 km jog with friends or along tree lined lanes and avenues. Just do not expect any cardiac improvement.
What about weight loss?
If the 60 second spinning session has little if not affect on weight loss, is there any alternative to a one hour gym session twice a week or a long weekend jog?
Again surprising yes.
Until the invention of sedentary jobs over the past century, most people’s day whether at work or at home, comprised some form of exercise. Albeit that this exercise was moderate & low intensity, but it was continuous, all day long from dawn to dusk.
By kitting out test subjects with unobtrusive activity monitors to wear during their normal workday and then periodically measuring their blood glucose levels, the volatility of their blood glucose levels and their insulin levels were ascertained.
Those test subjects who did the least sitting during their workday, displayed the best results. The glucose levels of those who were consistently active during the day, showed a substantial decline. Attending gym for a workout after working hours did not eliminate the deleterious effects of sitting the whole day. Even periodic standing was preferable from a health perspective than sitting. Neither was the speed at which one walked, but rather the fact that one was walking. Naturally it was preferable if walking was performed with some vigour, but even slow walking counted.
In effect, any activity however slow was preferable to sitting.
VO2 max is simply the quantity of oxygen that one’s body can use with every inhalation of air. In tests over the past six decades, it has been conclusively proved that the elite long distance runners had a substantially higher VO2 max reading than mediocre runners. In short distance races, VO2 max was not a determinant of one’s athletic prowess as much of the running was performed anaerobically.
Unfortunately for me, I elected to participate in long distance running 33 years ago. My running performance over the 10km & 15km distances were a respectable 15% of the field yet in marathons I battled to attain 95%. That meant that I was in the bottom 5% of the field in a marathon as opposed to the top 15% in 10 kms.
How was that possible? I tried the whole gamut of suggestions: carbo-loading, increasing my training, training on hills. Nothing worked.
A test of my lungs revealed the answer. Firstly genetically I suffered from a low VO2 max which precluded my attaining my marathon goals. Secondly I suffered from exercise-induced asthma. The result was that any long duration exercise would further degrade my even substandard lung performance.
At that stage, the conventional wisdom was that one’s VO2 Max was immutable. What is now known is that in the majority of cases it is indeed immutable but that in a minority of cases, it can be improved. What is the decisive factor for me is that one can determine in advance whether one’s VO2 max can be improved without training. A genetic test can now determine whether one’s VO2 max is susceptible to enhancement or not!