Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The 10 Minute Run

Are you interested in staying fit just for the health of it? Maybe you do not really have a weight problem or care to be competitive. Perhaps walking takes too long or there is just no spare time to squeeze in regular trips to the gym. Consider trying the 10 minute run.

Before you jump to the conclusion that 10 minutes cannot possibly make any difference, take a look at the joint American College of Sports Medicine-American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity for healthy adults under the age of 65:

Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week
Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, twice a week

Since jogging and running qualify as vigorous, you will need to do a 10 minute run at least 6 days a week in order to meet the aerobic recommendation. At 10-minute mile pace, 6 runs add up to 1 hour of running, or 6 miles a week.

Is this enough? Previous recommendations for exercise stated that you had to spend at least 30 minutes at a sustained heart rate in order to be benefical. Not true. We now know that physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day and still be beneficial, and an hour a week of vigerous exercise would undoubtedly reduce the risk of suffering any number of chronic conditions and diseases even further.

The key to your results will be consistency. If you have been sedentary you will notice some improved fitness quickly with just 10 minutes a day. Make the 10 minute run a habit on 6 days a week and you will theoretically burn the equivlant of 10 or 11 pounds of fat at the end of a year. You will also rev up your metabolic rate, and gradually stimulate the development of fat-burning enzymes, both capable of enhancing fat loss.

If you want to improve even more, cheat a little by adding one longer run on the weekend. You can also set aside 1 or 2 of your mid-week sessions for a little tempo. After a 5 minute warm-up, pick up the pace for the next 5 minutes or alternate 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy.

The 10 minute run has many advantages.

1. You can usually spare a short block of time for changing and your actual workout. Fitting your run in before work will not take any noticable extra time for changing and showering since those are things you have to do anyway.

2. You will be less inclined to skip a 10 minute workout than one lasting 30 minutes or longer.

3. A 10 minute run can be squeezed in at any time during the day. Even at noon in the middle of summer just about everybody can tolerate 10 minutes of activity.

4. Once you get out the door for an intended 10 minute run, you may find it easy to talk yourself into adding a few extra minutes or distance.

For some time now health and fitness professionals have been preaching the importance of adding physical activity to your daily life by using stairs instead of elevators, parking farther away and taking frequent walking breaks. For many, those things simply may not be enough to make a noticeable difference. If that is the case, it may be time to add a daily 10 minute run.

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