Sunday, 16 January 2011

Firing on all cylinders

It’s the last day of bootcamp tomorrow and I have to say that although it has been a highly beneficial two weeks I’m looking forwarding to relaxing a bit – especially on the exercise front. I’ve only missed one day of exercise in the two weeks although I did have a couple of days where I was either tired so did a very gentle workout or super busy so only had time for 20 minutes of interval training.

I’ve always been a gym bunny so I didn’t think I would notice a big difference but exercising 6 times rather than 3 to 4 times a week does make a big difference. I’ve noticed an improvement in muscle definition, but the main difference has been in my fitness and strength levels. Today I did a Taebo advanced workout dvd that in the past I’ve struggled to finish but instead completed it without too much difficulty and without once thinking about giving up!

I think this improvement in fitness is down to two things, firstly the fact I’ve been doing interval training, which is just superb for improving your cardiovascular fitness. You might think exercising for twenty minutes couldn’t achieve much but do it regularly and you’ll feel the difference. It’s great for over winter training for any runners (more than 20 minutes on the treadmill is just tedious) or competitive sports people or just for anyone who wants to improve their fitness or not feel out of breath running for the bus!!

Interval training is like weight training for the heart – which is a muscle and can be worked out just like any other. Your body responds to a physical challenge by making sure it’s better able to cope the next time it arises so by pushing your cardiovascular fitness with interval training the body responds by strengthening your heart.

The same is true for exercising regularly – if you use your muscles every day your body works hard to repair and build them more than it would if the challenge was only weekly. This is the second reason that I think has improved my fitness and strength and proven to me that exercising every day, even for smaller amounts, can be more beneficial than one or two long gym sessions a week.

Raising your heart rate daily also gives your metabolism a boost – however it’s a temporary effect lasting for only a few hours after exercise so by doing it daily you’ll spend more time with a faster metabolism.

I have to admit I won’t be sticking to such a stringent regime once bootcamp is over but I’ll definitely making a more concerted effort to fit in exercise 5 to 6 days a week, even if it’s just for twenty minutes.

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