Mix It Up!
Strength Supports StaminaBuilding stronger muscles can help you sustain a longer aerobic workout. Strength training improves performance in many aerobic sports, as it seems to give the body a greater power supply through deeper muscle strength. READ MORE
Even elite athletes in aerobic-intensive sports benefit from anaerobic exercise. A 2002 study of cross-country skiers in Norway showed that a group which incorporated maximal strength training into its workout improved its aerobic endurance during an 8-week period. A control group of skiers, who continued regular ski training, showed no change in their performance during the same time frame. Similarly, in a Finnish study, cross-country runners who added anaerobic explosive strength training—including sprints and jumping exercises—improved their time in a 5K run after just 9 weeks. The group of athletes who continued only aerobic training saw no change in their performance. LESS
Interval TrainingBreaking up your steady, medium-intensity jog, swim or cycling workout with bursts of sprinting at maximum speed is proven to have compelling results. Speeding up for 30 seconds or so during an aerobic workout burns more calories and strengthens muscles. Even more amazing, pouring on the gas with a few flights of sprinting unleashes a shower of beneficial brain chemicals. READ MORE
A study from the University of Bath, in England, showed that exercisers on stationary bikes who added a single burst of sprinting for 30 seconds in the middle of their workout released six times more human growth hormone (HGH). This hormone helps you build fast-twitch muscle fibers, which give you more power. It also helps you burn fat more efficiently. A German study showed that interval training improved subjects' performance on a vocabulary test. Some people in the study ran two three-minute sprints, separated by two minutes of steady running on a treadmill. Others ran steadily the entire time. The sprinters had increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). They also learned new vocabulary words 20 percent faster than the jogging group. Keep in mind that interval training is very challenging. You should get the okay from your doctor, and get some expert advice from a trainer, before incorporating intervals into your workouts. LESS
Combining aerobic and anaerobic exercise is important because of their distinct benefits. Activities that may be low-impact and burn fewer calories may also, but give you pleasure and relieve your stress. If you love ballroom dancing, gardening, walking your dog or strolling, remember that such activities count toward your overall exercise total. In fact, any activity that prevents boredom will help ensure that you don't just give up and sit on the couch. READ MORE
Harvey Simon, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of “The No Sweat Exercise Plan,” points out that staying in motion throughout your day has measurable benefits. You don't have to run marathons. To burn up 2,000 calories while jogging, for example, would take an adult about 4 hours, depending on his or her pace. To burn the same number of calories doing housework takes about 10 hours. Granted, it's more than twice the time. But activities such as walking to the mailbox, raking leaves, even a slowpoke game of golf raise your heart rate beyond the rate while sitting. Another benefit of mixing it up: If you do become injured, you may not have to give up all of your fitness activities, just those that challenge the injured area the most. LESS