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Exercise: Harder vs. Longer

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The age old question: Should you work out longer or harder? Truthfully, both methods can be valid for many weight loss and fitness goal, but with the time restraints of modern living can you really reach your fitness goals with a more time efficient work out verses the standard hour at the gym?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services most adults need at least 150 minutes a day of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to expect improvements in health and fitness. That works out to about 30 minutes a day five days a week. What’s more; studies indicate a workout of 30 minutes or more that is broken up into 10 or 15 minute increments had the same health benefits as a consecutively timed routine.

While all exercise is advantageous, working out at a slower pace i.e.; the fat burning zone doesn’t necessarily help you lose weight because its calories burned verses calories consumed that counts towards weight loss. While a work out of moderate intensity may burn more calories than that of a shorter more intense one, a harder workout can help speed up your metabolism and burn calories more efficiently.

Healthfully speaking while all exercise is valuable, results are often seen faster with more intense programs. A harder shorter bout of exercise also engages the heart muscle more effectively which lowers blood pressure and the chance of heart disease.

Exercise coupled with a healthful diet can be of great benefit to those looking to improve health; wellness and longevity but, varying goals and fitness levels should determine the intensity level of your program to help avoid injury. Other determining factors such as lifestyle, career and family may also be considered. Beginners should consult a personal trainer or other fitness professional before starting out.

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