Archive for the tag - endurance

How Much Time Should I Spend in the Gym?

fitness-model-workout-routine-1People often ask me how much time they should spend in the gym.

The truth is, the answer varies from person to person and it depends on your goals, your schedule and your current gym commitment. There’s certainly no short answer, but a new study by researchers at Teachers College, Columbia University is shedding some new light.

Most people understand that exercise is associated not just with improved physical health, but also improved mental health. But is more exercise always better? The answer may be a bit surprising.

After examining data from 7,674 adults, researchers determined that 2.5 – 7.5 hours of exercise per week may be the sweet spot. Exercising more than 7.5 hours was associated with diminished mental health and sharp increases in depression or anxiety.

Because this is the first study confirming that too much exercise can be related to poor mental health, more research is needed. It’s unclear if the poor mental health is because of the excessive exercise (perhaps a symptom of overtraining) or if people with poor mental health exercise excessively as a way to elevate their mood. In other words, it remains to be seen whether or not there is a causal relationship.

It’s also worth noting that more exercise may not be better for improved physical health either. A handful of new studies speculate, for example, that running more than 30 miles per week may diminish its longevity benefits. These findings are especially troubling for endurance athletes and marathoners who may train upwards of 100 miles per week.

In a nutshell, spending time exercising is a good thing – and it can help boost your mental and physical health. But, like anything else, exercise is best in moderation.

How to Build Stamina for Running: 7 Tips.

Hi Davey,

Whenever I go for a run or walk, I get winded and lose my breath within 30 seconds. I don’t have asthma, I’m in good shape and I eat well. Any advice?

Thanks,
Matt

Hey Matt,

Running is one of my favorite activities – and few things are as exhilarating as the resulting endorphin release and runner’s high.

But, as avid runners know, the stamina and endurance required to power through a run isn’t something with which we’re born. Endurance must be built over the course of time – and it can be a very gradual process.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Set a goal. It’s always helpful to set some sort of goal for yourself. It helps establish accountability and it gives you a way to measure your progress. Perhaps your goal is to run 1 mile by the end of the year without stopping.
  2. Pace yourself. When running longer distances, it’s important to pace yourself. You don’t want to start your run in a full sprint. Instead, start at a moderate but sustainable pace. Otherwise, you’ll burn out too quickly.
  3. Breathe. As it turns out, breathing is extremely important. As breathing keeps your blood oxygenated, I recommend inhaling for 2 or 3 counts – and then exhaling for 2 or 3 counts. Eventually, you can establish a breathing rhythm that will help get you into “the zone.”
  4. Don’t give up. If you’re winded after 30 seconds, don’t give up altogether. Walk for a few moments, catch your breath, and then run again. Continue until you finish your mile – or whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.
  5. Gradually, run more and walk less. Over time, you’ll notice that you’re not winded as quickly. Instead of running for 30 seconds, you may be able to run for 40 seconds. And then 50 seconds. Build on these gains to increase the amount of time you spend running versus walking.
  6. Try intervals. Intervals are a great way to mix things up and make speed gains. When performing intervals, you’ll alternative between sprinting for a set amount of time and jogging for a set amount of time. When I do intervals, for example, I jog for 60 seconds and then sprint for 60 seconds – and I do this for 15 minutes. In addition to incinerating body fat, this will make the perceived exertion in your regular run seem significantly less.
  7. Rest. Of course, it’s important to give you body plenty of rest to recover. Don’t run every day, and make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.

By following these 7 tips, you’ll certainly make huge gains to your stamina over time.

Remember: It’s important to be very consistent in your training. If you take a week or two off here and there, you’ll stunt your progress. Keep with it, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the results!

Love,
Davey

Study: Does Yoga Work?

Yoga has become increasingly popular - but does it really work?

Since I’m on a week-long yoga retreat at the Kalani center in Hawaii, I thought it’d make sense to talk a bit about yoga – and whether or not it works.

In the last few decades, yoga has become increasingly popular. And though many people, myself included, could point to personal or anecdotal evidence about its effectiveness, this several thousand-year-old tradition hasn’t been extensively researched.

Sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, and led by Dawn Boehde and John Porcari, Ph.D., researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, set to change that. For their study, researchers divided sedentary women into two groups and subjected each individual to a battery of fitness tests. The first group continued their inactive lifestyle for the duration of the 8-week study; the second group participated in three 55-minute yoga classes each week for two months.

After the full 8 weeks, each group was again tested. Not surprisingly, fitness measures didn’t improve for the inactive group. But for the yoga group, marked improvements were discovered in flexibility, strength, endurance and balance.

Flexibility increased from 13 – 35% for the yoga group. Strength and endurance likewise increased, especially in the core and chest; participants were able to perform 6 more push-ups and 14 more curl-ups at the end of the study. With an average one-legged stand time increase of 17-seconds, the yoga group saw improvements to balance as well. As many yoga classes aren’t cardio intensive, participants didn’t experience improvements to their aerobic abilities.

Bottom line: For the average person, yoga is a great form of exercise that can yield tremendous benefits; yoga does, in fact, work – and it can be an essential and rewarding part of your workout program. It’s also worth noting that the study lasted only 8 weeks. While the gains illustrated in this study are tremendous, imagine the changes you’d experience in a year or more.

If you’d like to learn more about yoga, or if you’re interested in giving it a try, download Davey Wavey’s Underwear Yoga program. Through the two workout videos and accompanying materials, you can start reaping the benefits of yoga without even leaving your home. Namaste ๐Ÿ™‚

Improve Your Sex Life with Exercise!

We know that exercise is good for your body, but have you ever considered that it’s good for your sex life, too? Not surprisingly, it is.

Here’s why:

  1. Endurance. If you’re not a minute man, making it last requires stamina. As it turns out, doing cardiovascular exercises like swimming, jogging, running, biking and sprinting can improve your performance. Having sex is hard work – but having a strong cardio program should help you rise (pun intended) to the occasion.
  2. Flexibility. So long as you’re stretching after exercise, you should be able to make improvements to your flexibility. Yoga, if it’s part of your fitness program, is also helpful – the deep stretches will open a whole new world of positions for you and your lover.
  3. Strength. Let’s face it: Some positions require quite a bit of strength – and holding those positions for any amount of time can be difficult. Strength training – be it with machines or free weights – will improve your overall strength and make holding positions a little more effortless.
  4. Sexual function. Researchers have found that exercise lowers the risk of impotence and erectile dysfunction. Vigorous exercising, like running or sprinting, was proven most effective in the study. A separate study found that men who exercise regularly experience more frequent orgasms and greater sexual satisfaction.
  5. Testosterone. Though it’s still something of a debate, exercise increases testosterone levels – which may increase sexual appetite immediately following a workout. Intense exercise for long periods of time, however, may actually decrease testosterone.
  6. Self-esteem. Exercise helps people feel better about themselves and their body. This confidence can certainly translate to the bedroom; less time feeling self-conscious means more time enjoying the moment.
  7. Stress. Time and time again, research has demonstrated that exercise helps reduce stress. It means fewer distractions when you’re in the bedroom, and less time worrying about work and the myriad of other things going on in your life.
  8. Energy. A lot of fitness enthusiasts report dramatic increases in energy levels when participating in an exercise program. Energy that might might make instances of “not today, I’m too tired” farther and fewer between.

Bottom line: Exercise can translate to a better, more enjoyable and satisfying sex life. The results, obviously, will vary for each individual – but we probably all stand to gain from a comprehensive fitness program.

As if you really needed yet another reason to exercise?

High Reps / Low Weight Vs. Low Reps / High Weight.

Which is better: Light weights and high reps or heavy weights and low reps? Well, it depends on your goals.

But first things first, let’s define low and high reps. A “rep” is one repetition of an exercise. For example, if you do three push-ups, you just performed 3 reps. Low reps are anywhere from the 6 to 10 range – that is, performing 6 – 10 push-ups, presses, curls, etc. High reps are anything including and above 10, usually the 10 to 15 range.

High Reps / Low Weight

Some trainers (i.e., Tracey Anderson) are big fans of using light weights performed at high reps. The truth is, it depends on the goals of the client. If you can curl a dumbbell 15 times, for example, the weight is generally too light to actually break down your muscle fibers. It is the body’s repairing of muscle fibers that builds muscle – so high reps will do little to increase muscle mass. On the other hand, high reps will get your heart pumping and a cardio effect occurs and you’ll burn calories and fat. In addition, high reps build muscle endurance which helps muscles work under stress. If you’re training for a triathlon, for example, high reps and light weights could be very useful. 10 – 15 is generally considered high rep.

Low Reps / High Weight

Lifting heavier weights at lower reps is the best method for building muscle mass. Increased muscle mass boosts metabolism and heavier lifting increases bone strength. There a lot of great benefits here, but again, it depends on the goals of the client. In general, you should select a weight that fatigues your muscles (in other words, you can’t do one more rep) in 6 – 10 repetitions.

The bottom line: Which is better? It depends on your goals. If you want to build muscle endurance and get some cardio, then high reps of low weights are for you. If you’re looking to increase your muscle mass, boost your metabolism and strengthen your bones, low reps of higher weights are your cup of tea.

Questions? Leave ’em in the comments, below.