We often associate exercise with pushing yourself to the limit, running miles and miles, or doing a session of intense weightlifting. But there are also many benefits to low-intensity exercise, such as walking, hiking, swimming, yoga, resistance training, cycling, or jumping on the elliptical.
“Low-intensity training occurs when you train between 57 to 63% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes or more,” Brian Nuneza performance coach and “head coach” for Nike.
This type of exercise is performed at a steady, consistent pace, unlike high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, which mixes periods of maximum effort with rest.
Nunez said low-intensity workouts can give you the cardiovascular benefits of high-intensity fitness without affecting or putting pressure on your joints. It can also be performed after another workout such as a slow down or a day recovery workout to keep the body active between tough sessions.
“Low-intensity training is also great for people who are starting to work out or those who are coming back after a long workout break,” Nunez said. Sticking to low-intensity exercise, like walking, can be easier than sticking to a daily HIIT class, too. Nunez stressed that consistency will always trump strength in terms of the validity and sustainability of any worthy goal.
If all that doesn’t convince you, here are nine reasons to try low-intensity exercise:
You will experience increased brain activity
Dylan Knight, Los Angeles-based personal trainer and CEO, said: Fitness from inside personal training.
A 2019 study Conducted by the German University Hospital Bonn to measure the effects of high- and low-intensity exercise on the brain. A group of athletes performed separate intensities on different days, with MRIs to measure brain activity in response to both types of training levels.
“Interestingly, the results… revealed a significant difference between them. High-intensity exercise showed a greater effect on emotional intelligence, while low-intensity exercise showed greater improvement in levels of cognition and intentional response.”
“So exercise in general not only makes you more emotionally organized as a person, but low-intensity exercise plays a particularly positive effect on a person’s long-term neuroplasticity levels as well.”
It’s easier on your body
Jessica Dome, Certified Personal Trainer and Operations Director with Fredericksburg fitness studio in Virginia.
On the other hand, high-intensity exercise can sometimes lead to injuries from over-exercising. “Lower intensity also means less time under heavy loads, which also results in reduced risks of muscle strain and arthritis,” said Katie Colath, co-owner of Colorado. Barbath Fitness.
It can help relieve stiffness
“Performing physical activity at a steady pace and in a consistent manner can help relieve stiffness, pain, and injury to joints and muscles,” Domy said.
She added that stiffness can occur when you are physically inactive for a period of time. This is where low-intensity exercises can help, by always keeping the muscles and joints moving.
“Joint pain can be relieved with coordinated movement, which improves the strength of the muscles around the joint,” Domy said.
You can do it anywhere
“If you go to the gym or go for a long time, you need to change into exercise equipment, make sure you refuel properly, get to where you are going to work out, energize yourself, and then do your workout,” said Jo Johnson, fitness trainer and center owner at Kingdom United” 9-5 Nutritionwhich offers personalized online coaching and nutrition guidance.
HIIT exercises can also require some props such as kettlebells, which you may not have on hand at home. Low-intensity exercise can be as simple as stepping out your door and going for a walk or bike ride.
“The biggest benefit of this is that it saves time and means there are fewer barriers that will give you an excuse to skip your session,” Johnson said. This also makes low-intensity workouts great for anyone on the road.
You can multitask
Even though we all strive to be so individualistic, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to do all that. Low-intensity workouts give busy people a chance to participate in the exercise when they might not be able to.
“Have you ever tried to talk while running on the treadmill?” Johnson joked. But if you go out on the streets for a low-intensity walk, you can chat on the phone, catch up on podcasts, or even have a business meeting. “This can save you,” Johnson said. Too much time because you’re killing two birds with one stone.”
It’s something you can do every day
Fitness professionals advise against doing higher intensity exercises every day. However, Johnson said low-intensity workouts are easier on your body and require fewer rest days.
Your balance may improve
studies Low-intensity workouts have been linked to better balance.
“If you have poor balance and start jumping or running, your joints will take a lot of pressure in order to keep you from falling, but weak muscles will not have the ability to respond quickly enough to maintain strong postures or build strength,” said Abi Fernandez, registered nurse and musculoskeletal practitioner. structural Loving TumsIt is a comprehensive fitness organization for women.
In this case, she said, your body simply finds ways to trick this muscle weakness due to speed. But when you do slow exercises, like the treetop yoga pose, or some bodyweight exercises in the gym like lateral gradients, you’ll be able to train your stability and balance systems.
“You will slowly feel the muscles in your buttocks, thighs, and abdomen firing and want to help you,” Fernandez said.
You will experience a boost of energy
2008 study from the University of Georgia found that sedentary people can feel 20% more energetic by engaging in low-intensity workouts. The research team recruited 36 volunteers who were not exercising regularly, and split them into two groups to complete moderate and low-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks.
They all experienced the same increase in energy, but the group that did the lower intensity exercises felt significantly less fatigue than the moderate intensity group.
It’s a more sustainable exercise
Another advantage of low-intensity workouts is that they are more sustainable. Having a sustainable routine means that you will be consistent with it, which is the most important thing in a fitness plan.
Don’t feel like working? Call a friend and go for a walk, or plan to ride your bike to a nearby coffee shop for a healthy lunch. And you can even enjoy it: 2015 study It found that participants liked the low-intensity workouts more than the HIIT group.
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