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WAYCAT Posts: 1,012
4/15/13 1:30 A

Great post M@L, and just what I need to read.

With my running, I'm finding now that I can complete 6 miles in a much shorter time now, and have gotten into the habit of simply adding on more distance. As such, at the moment I'm suffering from a shin splint on my right leg - nothing too major, but enough to niggle me and make me wary about running again until it has healed.

So with that said, yesterday I pumped up the tyres on my bike that hasn't been out of the garage since this time last year, and will be hopping onto that later on today.

When I do start running again, I've decided to start working with speed intervals to increase the intensity rather than adding on more distance. I've a feeling I'll get more out of this, and hopefully with the cross-training using my bike I'll be putting less strain on my body but reaping more rewards fitness-wise.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
4/14/13 10:19 A


I disagree with some of the words used in your post, as I think that they are misleading. But there is perhaps some truth in what is being said.

After about 30-40 minutes, your body has got most of the benefits out of cardio, and you are better off adding more intensity to your workouts, rather than more time. Getting your heart rate higher through greater intensity will give you more health and fitness advantages.

This doesn't mean that running longer is 'pointless' or 'dangerous', it's just that by pursuing duration rather than intensity, you are forgoing the significant health and fitness advantages of higher intensity. Higher intensity is definitely a more effective way to train.

Also, very long workouts can potentially be muscle-wasting, as the body seeks out alternative energy sources (ie. protein) as it depletes stored carb reserves. One long session per week probably isn't going to be a big deal, but if you are exercising 90 minutes every session, then this may be more of an issue. Certainly strength training, and ensuring you are eating plenty of carbs and protein is a potential counter to this, but only partial.

Also, the body gets efficient (ie. burns fewer calories) at anything it does regularly. If running is your main form of cardio, it will get very efficient at that, but not much else. Mixing in different forms of cardio (this is known as cross-training) will give you a more 'balanced' overall fitness. "Shocking" your body implies a dramatic assault, and such an approach definitely risks injury. I'd much prefer the term 'variety'. It's not that running is bad, or you should abandon it - just switch in a couple of days of doing something different. Even pro athletes cross train to improve their overall fitness, and so should you.


BOB240 SparkPoints: (6,131)
Fitness Minutes: (1,285)
Posts: 359
4/12/13 11:17 A

An issue with running is that it does become quite addictive. I often run for enjoyment (explore new cities etc) but don't count it as exercise.

Although "shocking" a body is not terminology I don't agree with (or even muscle confusion) there is wisdom in balance. with cardio I always mix running with rowing and cycles. It reduces teh risk of injuries from repetitive motions. If you work required you to run 90 minutes a day I am sure that health and safety law would probably limit you. Whatever your view son H+s - there is some element in truth about doing overly repetative actions.

Mix it... you'll enjoy life better.

Edited by: BOB240 at: 4/12/2013 (11:18)
JENSTRESS Posts: 5,403
4/12/13 11:12 A

I would say that not every workout has to be long and high intensity. That being said, if you do workout every day, I think that is fine, I just wouldn't do TOO much every day. I typically do 20 minutes of yoga, 20 minutes of high or 30 minutes low intensity, and some body weight resistance training. 4 days a week I do a high intensity cardio with weights. (that replaces the 20 minutes of cardio). Next month I plan on adding the couch to 5k program. It is 3 days a week and low intensity, (at least at first) so that is how that will fit in.

LIke a PP said, our bodies weren't made to sit all the time. We were built to move, but don't workout to try to burn all your calories you take in, or over workout. However, if you are fit, and feel good, do what you need!

LISS741 SparkPoints: (27,095)
Fitness Minutes: (18,978)
Posts: 337
4/12/13 11:00 A

It's funny that you bring this up because I just read an article on SP about how new studies show you need to work out 60 to 90 minutes a day for five times a week, if you want to lose weight. I don't remember the article, but I did read it this week. It said that 30 minute work outs are good for maintenance. At the same time, any exercise is better than no exercise.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,760
4/12/13 10:54 A

If you listen to your body you'll know when to stop or take a rest day. There's a study to prove or disprove any theory.

WAYCAT Posts: 1,012
4/12/13 10:01 A

I don't really have any advice to add, but wanted to jump in and say what an interesting topic this is.
I too am "guilty" of enjoying long workouts - even workouts that are meant to be short but intense (think Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30) I do two or three times back to back to make a long workout.
My runs are never shorter than an hour, and I tend to incorporate speed intervals into them, on top of the fact that I live in a hilly area so no matter which route I choose to take it includes several hills, a few of which are particularly long and never ending.
I think it may be time for me to save this topic, read and digest all the posts, and scale back my workouts somewhat because I have been feeling a little burnt out lately.
Thanks for bringing this up - most interesting and informative.

KAPELAKIN Posts: 1,984
4/11/13 10:46 P

My personal opinion is that it's best to incorporate a variety of different workouts each week. Of those, I think at least one should be long, but at low intensity. If you think about it, the human body was built for movement, and so it seems like a healthy thing to move continuously for multiple hours at a time. A long run of 90 to 150 minutes 1x a week at a low intensity trains the body to burn fat, which is a great asset for a few reasons. On the other hand, I don't think that it's a great idea to just run 2 hours a day a few times a week. Short, fast bouts of exercise, as well as strength training and moderate-intensity cardio should be incorporated as well to truly be "fit."

4/11/13 9:05 P

There is a point where one can cross from exercising to get/stay fit and exercising because you feel you have to burn every calorie that you take in. Personally I think that long workouts are fine as long as you don't feel ill while you are doing it or shortly afterwards. There have been plenty of times when I walked for two hours at a stretch or do two one hour walks. Heck, I used to work at a horse farm where I did EVERYTHING and I was the only employee (and there were 65 horses!)-I'd work 8-10 hours and then ride three horses-it kept me fit! It all depends on what you are used to and as I said before, as long as it doesn't take that dangerous turn, it's fine.

JOIANETT Posts: 396
4/11/13 4:34 P

Great advice because I have this mind set the the harder the workout and the more I workout, the better. I am working on overcoming this and am getting better but it's hard.

SLASALLE SparkPoints: (267,593)
Fitness Minutes: (101,396)
Posts: 11,635
4/11/13 4:25 P

I can only share my own story. Please note that I am not and have never been a runner, so my exercise was cardio, strength training and circuit training. This happened about 20 years ago. I was 40 pounds lighter than I am right now. Currently, I am only 10-15 pounds overweight. I thought I was in the best shape I'd ever been in. I was working out 6-7 days weekly for 60-120 minutes at a shot and it was pretty intense workouts. I was at the bottom end of my weight range, despite the fact that I am 5'8 and big-boned.

I woke up one Saturday morning, turned over in bed and screamed out in pain. In the end, I had herniated the L4-L5 disk in my lower back. There was no accident. I could attribute this to nothing. The doctors attributed it to over-training. I had not been giving my body ANY rest between workouts because I was working out 6-7 days weekly. I DID give my body one day of rest between strength training.

I am now a firm believer in giving my body some rest time. It took me TWO YEARS to come back from that injury. I went from intense workouts to having to walk slowly around an indoor track and stretch.

Take what you like and leave the rest ... I suggest variety and a bit more rest.

JOIANETT Posts: 396
4/11/13 3:53 P

I love running. Until recently, I was running 5-8 miles/day during the week and 13-20 miles on Saturday mornings. I did that pretty consistently for about two years but about a month ago, I decided to do something different. Mainly because I want to see more of a change in my body than long distance running provides ME (we're all so different). It keeps me thin but feel like I wanted more of a sprinters body. So, I have been do HIIT and love it. But I have a lot of questions too because so many websites say different things and everyone has a different opinion on how much is too much!!! It's crazy. So, my advice would be, do what you love but listen to your body. If you feel exhausted, take a break. Or, though you don't like it, maybe change a couple days to do some type of interval trainings?

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (194,329)
Fitness Minutes: (189,550)
Posts: 15,821
4/11/13 3:44 P

There is no NEED for long workouts, and you can argue the safety of half marathons and marathons, but most people would agree that they are generally safe if you enjoy them.

WINNIIIE Posts: 396
4/11/13 3:41 P

I keep reading that people only need about 20-30 minutes of intense exercise a day to see fitness, weight loss and health results.
I heard that long workouts, 45-60 minutes or longer are not good for the body. I must admit that I absolutely LOVE running (I know I am one of those freaks) I run 5-6 days a week for an hour to an hour and a half. It is total me time and I get to just zone out. They say (some articles online, health books, doctors, fitness fanatic friends) that after 45-50 minutes of cardio, anything after that is "pointless" and causing more harm on the body than doing it any good.

Is it dangerous for my body to be working out for that long? I hear that when you work out for longer than 30 minutes your body starts sending out stress signals and could lead to injury and your body storing more fat to protect itself. Is this true? I really am not a big fan of the H.I.I.T workouts, although my runs are NEVER just static. I alternative between running hills, upping my speed, decreasing my speed, I always add tons of walking intervals into my long runs. Usually walking for 2-3 minute after 10 minutes of running.

Am I okay to keep following my workout, or do I need to incorporate other types of cardio like spinning, rowing, the elliptical etc to "shock it" and keep it in top form? I also do weight training so I don't need to add any more of that in. I just want to make sure I'm not damaging my body or leading myself down a path of serious injury and stress. I just really love to run and I don't want to totally overhaul a routine that I like!!

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