By Joli Guenther, MSSW, NASM
The US Department of Agriculture has recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days or 150 minutes per week since 2008, but research is beginning to show that this may not be enough. A March study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that staving off middle aged weight gain for women may require at least an hour of moderate exercise every day. If you're looking to lose weight through exercise, even more activity may be required.
If these numbers are overwhelming to you, you're not alone. Most women struggle with fitting in the demands of work and home, and giving up an hour plus to use your fitness equipment each day can seem impossible. In the study recently published, only 13% of over 34,000 women completed one hour of moderate activity daily. Significantly, those were the women who maintained a healthy BMI of less than 25 over the course of the 13-year study. For more on this study, check out this link.
If you've already added a treadmill or other piece of fitness equipment to your home, you've taken the first step to making this goal attainable. The other good news is that there are ways of making your time on the fitness equipment more effective. This study was based on moderate levels of activity. If you increase the intensity of your workouts, you're able to spend less time on your fitness equipment and achieve better results.
Your Horizon fitness equipment probably already features an interval setting. You can use this setting, or create your own intervals to develop an effective workout that will allow you to reduce the amount of time needed to gain the most from your fitness regimen. Intervals can be created on your fitness equipment by increasing your speed or incline to increase your heart rate and create a greater effort. An effective program might include four sessions of intervals lasting for 3-5 minutes each with a recovery period of 2-3 minutes between your intervals. Intervals should be a high effort, but are not at your maximum capacity, unless you're a trained athlete. Initially, try adding in one interval session a week, working up to as many as three per week over the next six months. Just like your muscles, your heart and cardiovascular system need time to recover between workouts, so give yourself a day or two of rest or lower effort workouts between sessions in order to get the most from your next training effort.