Why Are You Still Jogging?

3 Jun

Adrian Peterson, Leon HallLong duration aerobic exercise (AE) is well-known for its impact on exercise performance, particularly with regard to enhanced maximal aerobic capacity.  However,high-intensity sprint training (HIT) can yield similar, and even better, results than aerobic exercise, with less time spent training.  Research indicates that AE is not required to improve metabolic/cardiovascular fitness and, in some cases, may be less effective than HIT.

Although AE is beneficial — and any exercise is generally better than none — there are some consequences of AE that should be considered:

  • Long-duration AE can elevate cortisol, an inflammatory hormone (released as a response to stress) that promotes muscle loss (via protein breakdown) and fat storage.
  • Chronic AE increases the amount of slow-twitch (Type 1) muscle fibers, decreasing the potential for power production and compromising anaerobic exercise performance.

HIT, in addition to yielding comparable metabolic benefit (as compared to AE), decreases overall body fat, increases lean body (muscle) mass, and promotes development of fast-twitch (Type IIa) muscle fibers.

If you’re an athlete, pick up the pace and add sprint and interval training to your cardio training regimen.

If you’re not an athlete, you too should pick up the pace.  Increasing the intensity of your cardio training applies broadly to walking, running, and biking; as well as the treadmill, elliptical, and stairclimber.

Researchers note that AE may be an acceptable exercise choice for anaerobic athletes if used minimally and far away from the competitive sport season.


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