The New York Times: The best exercise four times a week


For fitness , people generally have such concerns. If you don't have daily exercise , you can't get enough health benefits. But a new study worthy of recommending to others offers a different perspective. This study suggests that a relaxed exercise schedule may be more beneficial to people than a tireless workout every day.

The study, published in the "sports and exercise medicine and science," this month (Exercise & Science in Sports & M ED icine), University of Alabama at Birmingham (University of Alabama at Birmingham) researchers recruited Seventy-two women between the ages of 60 and 74 who were less active were randomly assigned to one of three fitness groups.

A group one day a week weightlifting exercises, and endurance exercise such as jogging or cycling on another day. Another group arranges two days of weightlifting exercises per week, two days of jogging or cycling. The third group of exercise methods you may have guessed, they carry out three days of weightlifting exercises every week, three days of endurance exercises, a total of six days of exercise.

The researchers monitored the participants' exercises throughout the exercise, and the exercise was easy at first, with the goal of changing the muscles and endurance of the participants . During the four months , the intensity and duration of the exercise gradually increased. Finally, these participating women can jog for 40 minutes and the weightlifting exercises can reach the same time. Researchers hope to find out how many times a week is just right, and after a certain amount of energy per week, they can properly enhance the participants' physical fitness.

Previous studies have found that exercising only once or twice a week is almost unhelpful for physical fitness, while those who practice almost every day with high-intensity exercises are lazy in everyday life compared to those who exercise less frequently. The researchers concluded that a more rigorous fitness schedule would cause the central nervous system to respond to this excessive movement, releasing physiological signals in this subconscious internal reaction, making people feel exhausted and drowsy. And do not want to continue to move.

In this experiment , the investigator always monitors the concentration of cytokines in the blood of the participating women in order to judge whether there is a possibility in the participant. The substance is believed to be related to stress , and the nervous system will be based on It is to judge whether the human body is exercising excessively. They also monitored changes in aerobic energy, muscle strength , body fat, and mood in these women , and used complex calorie measurement techniques to calculate their weekly energy consumption.

At the end of the four-month experiment, although weight loss was not the purpose of this experiment, all women's endurance and strength were enhanced, and the body fat rate decreased. The researchers did not ask them to change their eating habits .

It is worth noting that in the three groups, the increase in physical fitness of the participants was almost indistinguishable. Women who exercise twice a week are no different from women who exercise six times a week in strength and aerobic energy. There were also no significant differences in cytokine concentrations in the three groups.

However, women who exercise four times a week generally consume more energy than women in the Other two groups. In addition to the energy consumed during exercise, they burned 225 calories per day compared to the beginning of the experiment.

Compared with the beginning of the experiment, the energy consumed twice a week also increased. In addition to the calories burned during exercise , they burned nearly 100 calories per day.

As for women who exercised six times a week, their daily energy consumption was significantly reduced compared to the beginning of the experiment. Although they exercised so hard, they burned nearly 200 calories per day.

Leading the experiment is University of Alabama at Birmingham's Gary Hunt (Gary Hunter) professor, he said, after a few months of training, "We hold these exercises twice a week or four times a sexy woman feel more lively as ever, in the physical and more robust. "he, after chatting with these women find that they are choosing the stairs rather than the elevator, and enjoy walking.

The response of women who exercised six times a week is quite different. “They complained to us that it took too much time to exercise six times a week,” Dr. Hunt said. These participants did not claim that they felt tired or felt that they were not enough. Their bodies did not produce a high concentration of cytokines, releasing an invisible message to the body. Rather, they feel that time is not enough, so they deliberately choose to drive instead of walking , while impatiently avoid climbing stairs.

Although this study gives you a wake-up call, people who insist on exercising six times a week can not help but feel depressed. The results of the study show that as long as you can consciously monitor your activity, you will not unknowingly become unwilling to move.

But Dr. Hunt said that the more significant finding of the study is “less than how good”, and such a message is likely to resonate with everyone. He said that women who exercise four times a week "have the most energy consumed." But only exercise twice a week. "It's not too far."


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