Men's Health

Don't jog, it's too harmful: Half 2

The cover quote from Dr. DeVany has been following me for years. Usually when I go jogging in the morning I ponder the meaning of this dead claim. "Come on, that can't be dangerous, can it?" I contend that my morning jog helps me enjoy the outdoors, clearing my mind for the busy day ahead in front of a screen or microphone, and apparently adds to both my fitness base and my health.

But only if I go slowly!

That is the revelation that I have come to appreciate over decades of dedicated endurance training. Walking is perhaps the most healthful and longest lasting activity of all, the ultimate human experience of life and the planet that our genes need on a daily basis for healthy functioning. This is especially true in old age. A UCLA study in the elderly found that taking more than 4,000 steps a day resulted in a thicker hippocampus, faster information processing, and improved executive function. Sedentary people have been found to have thinner brains, lower overall cognitive function, and an increased risk of disease. If your frequent daily walking (and other forms of low-level movement, such as yoga) make you fit enough to jog with a heart rate below "180 minus age" in bpm, there are pretty strong signs that you are increase health. If your "jogging" routinely goes beyond this important MAF limit (certainly the context for DeVany's warning), you are likely updating the offer and putting your health at risk.

This article describes how I destroyed my health during a six month high volume aerobic exercise (playing speed golf, where you run about five miles and play 18 holes as fast as you can) after a long break from proper training. I overestimated my aerobic maximum heart rate by 12 beats (and often exceeded this beeping limit on the golf course as well!) And experienced this well-known steady spiral in decreasing energy and burnout. First, I provided a free testosterone level that was clinically low – like a candidate for hormone replacement. Next, after two strenuous training sessions at 100 degrees for four days, I was in the hospital with extreme dehydration, a herniated appendix and emergency surgery. Months of complications and reoperations followed. Doctors could claim an appendix was accidentally blown out, but I'm sure my problems were caused by the six month long chronic cardiovascular attack.

After five months of forced rest and swapping my somewhat too difficult cardio for light jogging and walking (after surgery), I doubled my testosterone level – from clinically low to over the 95th percentile of my age. After the ordeal that coincided with the 5-0 win over Hawaii, I turned to fitness goals that are better suited for longevity: strength, speed, explosiveness, flexibility, balance, and mobility. I've increased my dedication to sprinting and strength training, incorporating the wonderful exercises and skills highlighted in the basic running exercises and advanced running exercise videos, as well as the morning agility / mobility exercise video. I have moved from an aging ex-triathlete who is still able to jog or kick (slower every year) to world class high jumping for my 55 to 59 age group. Granted, abrasion in this case is a driving factor behind my ranking, but in many ways I'm a fitter, stronger, and faster person than the tight-fitting endurance athlete I was decades ago.

Here are some ideas on how to trade in stationary cardio sessions for sessions that offer broader fitness benefits and are more fun, challenging, and rewarding.

What to do instead of steady state cardio?

Morning flexibility, mobility, dynamic stretching and core strengthening

The sequence of exercises that I present in the video takes about 12 minutes and I have been in a good phase of daily execution for almost four years. What happened on my last transition from my consistent morning jog is that I keep adding more and more fun things to the daily template. First of all, it is extremely important in habit formation to design an initial routine that is simple, doable, and short in duration. Once you've built up some momentum, you can increase the complexity and difficulty of your routine. Today I burn at least 45 minutes with a precise sequence of exercises that I repeat every day. I add, subtract, and change the sequence regularly, but it's important to have a repeatable routine that doesn't require creative energy. That way, you can relax and get into the zone where you just count the number of reps you want for each drill and move on to the next. You will see the same dynamic in a flowing yoga class.

I'm not suggesting that you wedge a 45 minute routine into your already busy morning hours, but starting small with a 12 minute session can be a great way to add to your fitness experience. For me, the lengthy and rather strenuous morning routine brought my morning run into the “optional” category. As mentioned in the previous post about the poor requirements for optimizing aerobic fitness (Dr. O’Keefes Goldilocks Zone), switching from daily jogging to a few per week does not lead to a loss of aerobic conditioning. Additionally, an ambitious routine of flexibility / mobility exercises without interruption from start to finish is aerobic in nature. I get all of the cardiovascular benefits of jogging, plus all the additional benefits related to flexibility, mobility, core strengthening, and balance.

Walking – jogging – jumping

We'll discuss the broad benefits of jumping in a future post. Mark says, "Nothing cuts you off like sprinting," because of the deep genetic signaling that comes from sprinting briefly on flat ground. Every act of jumping falls into the same valued category. They build bone density, improve the elasticity of your muscles and connective tissues, and send a strong genetic signal to reduce excess body fat. The reason for the latter is the same as when sprinting – the penalty for carrying excess fat is severe when trying to get off the ground.

For your session on the streets or trails, walk out the door at your aerobic jog pace. After a 10 minute warm up, do some jumping exercises of your choice. You can just stand in place and jump up and down from two feet. Dr. Michael Roizen, co-author with Dr. Oz's popular book series You: The Owner & # 39; s Manual and Chief Wellness Officer of the Cleveland Clinic recommends jumping up and down 20 times each morning and evening to help maintain bone mass in your spine and lower extremities. "When jumping, an electrical current is generated that stimulates the bone and thickens the internal bone mass," says Roizen.

Jumping opportunities abound, pun intended. You can take off a three-step takeoff and jump off one foot like you're doing a slam dunk, landing, and repeating three times. You can jump explosively, trying to maximize the height of each jump in the air. You can try out the bike drill as shown at 1:18 in the Advanced Running Drills video below. You might want to try some vertical jumps on a park bench or retaining wall, jump over a bush or traffic cone, or other engaging challenges along your route.

Remember, your explosive efforts should take anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds and no longer. Read the HIIT versus HIRT post to understand why 10 to 20 seconds is the sweet spot. After your jump sequence, walk five times as long as your breakout lasted – so that's between 50 seconds and 1 minute, 40 seconds. After you have felt fresh and relaxed, continue your jogging pace slowly and finally work up to your heart rate "180 minus age" again. After jogging for 1-3 minutes, start another jump sequence.

Cardio Plus Calisthenics

If your workout is on a cardio machine at the gym, take a 5-10 minute break, then take a short break to do burpees, squats, pull-ups, mini-bands, TRX moves, or any other exercise I like in the Gym. Take the time to get back to your cardio workout and continue very slowly. Exercise at your usual aerobic exercise pace for a few minutes, then dismount for other activities.

Power Walk

In this session you bypass stationary cardio completely. You will either walk or jog very slowly (20-40 beats below your MAF heart rate) or do an explosive effort of 10-20 seconds. This could be a sprint up a hill, a series of stadium or building stairs, or a couple of kettlebell swings as you do laps around the block and return to your garage every ten minutes.

Note that the explosive efforts in each of the formats above will cause your heart rate to exceed the aerobic maximum in order for the dutiful endurance athletes who monitor exercise heart rate to stay below the MAF. You will hear the beep somewhere between the middle and the end of your burst. It can take 30-60 seconds for the heart rate to return to MAF or below. This is nothing to worry about and does not interfere with your aerobic development, like when you do a lot of workouts over long periods of MAF. Exercise physiologists call the heart rate zone above MAF, where you are still comfortable but burn more glucose and less fat, the "black hole." This is a no man's land where you are sabotaging the aerobic benefits you want, but not hard enough for a truly anaerobic effort that can occasionally and correctly stimulate performance breakthroughs.

JFW (Just (email protected) $ & ing Walk!)

Let's plug in here to trade the occasional jog for a walk. The common fitness edict “consistency is key” can easily be misapplied because the daily and weekly application of exercise stress is not adequately balanced with recovery time and downtime. I want you to look at the "consistency is key" principle over a longer period of time than the typical obsession with creating a decent weekly schedule of workouts with repetitive templates (e.g., Sunday in the long run, stretch intervals on Tuesday evening , Thursday spin class, etc.) Realize that the body is really good at maintaining fitness, even if the occasional week or month is drastically reduced. Popular studies by the renowned sports physiologist Dr. David Costill of Ball State University's Human Performance Lab show that extreme rejuvenation produces great results. A decade-old Costill study of elite swimmers found that reducing swimming volume by 67 percent in 15 days resulted in a four percent increase in performance! A study from McMaster University in Toronto of serious runners averaging 50 miles per week showed that the control group, who reduced volume by 88 percent (six miles per week but with tough intervals), improved performance by 22 percent!

If you are not interested in a workout that does not cause discomfort or sweat, you will find that a brisk walk still provides an excellent aerobic training effect that supports peak performance at all higher speeds. Imagine a cruise ship with 12 massive turbine engines. On the open sea with all 12 at full throttle, the mighty ship can reach 25 knots. Imagine if you entered port at two knots, only two engines were running at half power. However, these two engines still add to the exertion when traveling at full speed. You can easily double your resting heart rate during a walk by recruiting the same aerobic enzymes and muscle fibers that you need when you are at peak performance. For endurance athletes, walking is a low-stress way to gain and gain more fitness without the risk of breakdown and burnout from black hole training.

Hopefully these suggestions will get your creative juices flowing by the time you walk out the door for future workouts. Here you can let your imagination run wild unleash your childlike spirit and look for forgotten ways to connect your body with nature for physical challenges. Take inspiration from the Queen of the Nutritious Movement, Katy Bowman, MS – here are some people who are having fun on one of their Move Your DNA Weekends.

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