Shorter periods of exercise produce as good a result as longer work-outs
American fitness guru Jane Fonda popularised the phrase “Go for the Burn”. Others say: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
No wonder many of us think that if exercise doesn’t hurt we’re short-changing ourselves. It isn’t necessarily so.
I’ve watched men and women at the gym lifting weights that are far too heavy for them. I’ve also seen people take class after class to lose weight. But I know that when it comes to working out or ‘getting fit’ – which could mean almost anything – it’s consistency and focus that make all the difference.
What’s the point of knackering yourself with a programme that you can’t possibly sustain? Is there any reason why you should push yourself so hard that you hate getting the exercise you’re supposed to enjoy? Is there ever a good reason to sustain an injury? Not really.
Maintaining a fit body and a healthy mind is not a sprint. It’s a life-long marathon. This means eating less and drinking less alcohol, but not giving up everything you love. It is not about forcing yourself to run in the hot summer sun on hard surfaces. It is about pushing yourself a little each time you take physical activity – and even, just occasionally, going soft on yourself.
Yes, you will need to push it a little – you will tone and grow muscle if you put it under safe stress for short periods. But it doesn’t have to be ruinous or leave you feeling like you’ve carried a hundredweight of turnips up a hill.
The key to a great active life is that less is more; doing more of what your body craves and less of what you “think you should do”. Research done at the University of Copenhagen suggests that only 30 minutes of hard exercise can be as effective as an hour of working out when the goal is weight loss
The key to less is more might be understanding that less sitting means more fitness – i.e. feeling better – having more energy and looking better. It also means exercise can actually be fun, especially if done with a great guide. This is the niix Manifesto. Do it well. Do it with vigour. But don’t overdo it.