I once asked a 65-year-old friend of mine when was the last time he had gone all out. He replied, “John it's been decades”.
Our bodies respond to the stresses placed on them by making a positive adaptation to handle that stress. Our skin becomes tan, our hands become calloused, our muscles become stronger, and our body increases its capacity to burn sugar longer.
If we do not place demands on our body our body downgrades its ability to handle demanding work. Muscle is metabolically expensive to maintain. If we do not need it we lose it, and our bodies become weaker. As a consequence we burn fewer calories, we lose flexibility, our cardiovascular system becomes compromised, we are more prone to injury, our immune system becomes weaker, and our bones decalcify.
How much demanding work is enough to cause a positive change? That depends on how far out of shape you are. From this article, Six seconds 'can transform health', comes this quote:
"A group of pensioners came into the lab twice a week for six weeks and went hell for leather on an exercise bike for six seconds.
They would allow their heart rate to recover and then go for it again, eventually building up to one minute of exercise by the end of the trial.
'They were not exceptionally fast, but for someone of that age they were,' researcher Dr John Babraj said.
The results, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, showed participants had reduced their blood pressure by 9%, increased their ability to get oxygen to their muscles and found day-to-day activities like getting out of a chair or walking the dog easier."
Is Hell for leather for 6 seconds enough? I suppose it is if you have not done anything for decades. The variables of intensity, duration, and frequency of demanding exercise required to produce a positive change will vary among individuals, but it is important to note that the right amount of proper exercise that will produce positive changes will not require long hours in the gym. Our fitness trainers at Austin TX Personal Training and at New Orleans Personal Trainers can guide you through an effective high intensity strength training program that will take less than an hour a week, and it will transform your life.