With the growing popularity of exercise trends like CrossFit, Insanity and Tabata-style training, it might feel like you’ve been led to believe that the only effective workouts are the ones performed at the most extreme intensities.
Why work out if you won’t be lying on the floor, drenched in sweat by the time you’re finished, right?
Wrong. Exercise doesn’t need to be extreme. Not every workout needs to be at the highest intensity you can handle. In fact, if you don’t want to, you don’t ever have to exercise at a high intensity at all. It all depends on what your goals are.
Sure, working harder will allow you to reap more health and fitness benefits in a shorter amount of time, but if you’d rather take it down a notch or two you can still exercise just as effectively—and not to mention, with less risk for injury.
Take an activity as simple as walking. One meta-analysis by two scientists from University College London that evaluated 459,833 subjects over an average of 11.3 years found that a habitual daily walk was associated with a 31 percent decrease in risk for cardiovascular events and a 32 percent decreased risk for death. The findings showed that these benefits were present with as little as five and half miles of walking per week and at a pace as relaxed as two miles per hour.
So, just because high intensity or heavy weights aren’t your style, it doesn’t mean you can’t get fit, stay in shape and feel healthy. There are plenty of exercise options out there for you, and we bet they're a lot more effective than you probably think. Instead of shrugging them off to the side, why not give the following activities a try?
*All calorie estimates are based on calculations for a 24-year-old, 115 lb. female using the HealthStatus.com calorie burn estimator.
Swimming is often associated with leisure, and while it can be relaxing it can also stand in as an excellent exercise session. For one hour of moderate swimming you can expect to burn around 300 calories. Plus, you’ll be working to build strength in almost every muscle of your body without the intense impact of an activity like running.
Don’t dismiss this high-energy activity as an over-hyped fad from the 80s. An hour on the step can burn anywhere from 360 (moderate) to 550 (vigorous) calories. Not to mention, we can almost guarantee that you’ll have a blast.