Long-duration, low-intensity is a very popular form of exercise usually performed on a treadmill or elliptical machine. It's so popular that most gyms dedicate 30-50% of their floor space to these cardio machines. We've all been led to believe that longer is better. That keeping your heart rate and intensity low will keep you in the “fat burning zone.” In fact, this type of exercise is inferior to short duration, high-intensity exercise, such as surge training. Long-duration exercise can actually negatively affect your health. Conventional cardio training has been shown to increase cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, which in turn decreases human growth hormone and testosterone – the two most important hormones your body uses to boost metabolism and increase lean muscle. Low-intensity, long duration exercise also increases inflammation, increases fat stores in the abdomen and upper thighs, and if done regularly can cause muscle wasting. Our bodies weren’t designed to endure long periods of low to moderate physical stress. Our ancestors primarily focused on hunting food or running away from predators. Both of which required short bursts of high-intensity energy. They either killed or got eaten! Therefore, our bodies respond best physiologically and structurally to high-intensity, short duration exercise. Research has proven that surge training not only suppresses cortisol and increases testosterone and human growth hormone, but also improves immune function, fat burning, bone density, and joint strength. Better yet? Surge training doesn't require any equipment or a degree in exercise physiology. All you need to get started is your body weight and a watch. You can utilize traditional exercise movements such as push-ups or squats using variations to accommodate your fitness level, or you can add more functional movements to your exercise routine to duplicate a movement you might perform in real life. An example would be a burpee, which is a push up to a squat jump.
Do your body a favor and get off the treadmill.