Consumers spend millions of dollars on gym memberships and weight loss programs but not everyone has something to show for it. If results come slowly or not at all it's easy to get discouraged and give up.
Very often people jump from one diet and exercise fad to the next in hopes it will pay off.
Paul Arciero, an exercise scientist at Skidmore College, thinks most people simply aren't maximizing their exercise effort. It's not that they aren't spending enough time and effort, he says. They haven't found the right combination.
In a report in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Arciero and his research team say it's the quality of the exercise that's important, not the quantity. They reached that conclusion based on the results of a study of adults between the ages of 36 and 57.
They argue that when it comes to a workout, a multi-dimensional exercise regimen provides the best results. That includes resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching – such as yoga or pilates -- and endurance exercise.
Resistance training is “carrying a load,” or lifting weights. It can be done with free weights or with machines at the gym. It is important because it builds and maintains muscles, promoting healthy metabolism.
Interval sprint exercise is a workout in which you mix a moderate walk with a more intense jog or sprint.
In 2012 researchers at the Researchers at the University of Colorado found sprint interval exercise burned more calories in a shorter period of time.
They have found that exercisers can burn as many as 200 extra calories in as little as 2.5 minutes of concentrated effort a day —- as long as they intersperse longer periods of easy recovery in a practice known as sprint interval training.
Stretching is important before and after vigorous exercise so you don't damage muscles. But it can also promote a healthy weight because it promotes flexibility. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with flexibility in their joints tend to be more active.
Endurance exercise are any activities that step up your breathing and heart rate for longer periods of time. Walking, jogging, swimming, raking, sweeping, dancing, and playing tennis are good examples.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends doing it gradually, starting with as little as 5 minutes at a time before working up to about 30 minutes a day.
Arciero says a workout routine employing all 4 exercises will produce better results that using just 1. The final ingredient, he adds, is the right diet.
Arciero suggests adding moderate amounts of protein to your diet throughout the day to decrease total and abdominal fat while increasing lean body mass.
“It’s very difficult to just lift weights, or only do the treadmill or the elliptical machine and be healthy,” Arciero said. ”Your exercise regimen needs to encompass as much of what makes you a fully integrated living person as possible.”