The word on the street is that we should work out at least 30 minutes a day to lose weight or keep the weight off. Right???
We can answer this question when we have a better understanding of types of exercise and how our body reacts to each one.
There are studies that suggest 75-150 hours of cardio workouts in a week. Some other studies suggest that in order to lose weight, you have to exercise for at least one hour a day five days a week. On the other hand, there are very effective HIIT, high intensity interval trainings that suggest, with as little as 15 minutes a day 3 times a week, you can lose weight. And then there is Tabata training, which is only 4 minutes and is claimed to be effective in weight loss.
All these seem very confusing and at times overwhelming. The truth is, these claims are all true and have been scientifically proven. Why? Because they all depend on your level of intensity.
The more intense you work out and the more you push yourself to get to the anaerobic level, the more afterburner you will have.
So what is anaerobic????
Basically we have two different kinds of workout Aerobic and Anaerobic.
When you are working out at the moderate and steady intensity, you stay in an aerobic state. In aerobic state your body consumes Oxygen for energy. You tend to burn more calories during aerobic exercises, because they last longer. Aerobic exercises also help with cardiovascular health and improving circulation.
When you are pushing your limits and working at high intensity, you enter the anaerobic state. Anaerobic means without oxygen. So in these kind of exercises, body gets the energy from using glycogen. Anaerobic exercises like resistance training help promote muscle building and increase bone density as well as helping to reduce body fat percentage and help with cardiovascular health. In anaerobic state, since your body is not getting enough Oxygen, and they are high in intensity, the workouts tend to be shorter. You might not burn as much calories, during the workout, but studies have shown that you will continue burning calories hours after finishing a high intensity workout.
So as you can see both of these exercise are beneficial to the body.
Back to our question at the top of this post, is it true that you have to work out for at least 30 minutes a day to lose weight and keep the weight off? It depends on how intense you are willing to work out. I call this a myth, because it is possible to work out less than 30 minutes a day and still burn tons of calories. Also remember, exercise alone is not a very effective weight loss tool. You have to pair exercise with eating healthy.
To get the benefits of both exercises I would suggest to mix them together. Do three days of anaerobic exercises, like strength training or HIIT followed by one or two days of aerobic training like moderate intensity cardio workouts or a brisk walk. You can do the same. The fact is, our bodies are so smart and they tend to adapt very quickly, so in order to get the maximum benefits of your exercise, you need to mix your routine. We will talk more about body’s adaptation and plateau in later posts. For now:
Stay happy and healthy