Physical Activity and Movement Part 7
I’m a fan of endurance training. I incorporate it as part of my physical activity profile and I like knowing I have the cardiovascular ability to run 5 miles or climb a mountain. I think most people would benefit from some form of endurance activity.
It’s important to understand that picking only one endurance activity and doing that all the time as your sole source of exercise can actually sometimes create negative physical responses.
What’s Wrong with Endurance Training?
If you’re only using particular muscle groups and movement patterns on a consistent, sustained basis, you may be creating imbalances in your body’s functional abilities. In addition, running 15 miles a day is not necessarily associated with a longer, healthier lifespan. The studies are mixed. I’m not here to criticize that habit. I’m suggesting that’s not what you have to do to experience good health. If it’s something you do because of all the benefits for you specifically, then keep doing it. Just recognize that your body might need periods or rest, recovery, and cross-training with different exercises.
Your body will adapt to any form of chronic, repetitive stress. Eventually, the gains you get from this will be minimized. You’ll maximize your physical capabilities and your aerobic capabilities to that specific exercise. Your body will make its adjustments, and from that point forward, it’s doubtful it does a whole lot more for you. Again, it can help you feel better mentally and provide a sense of accomplishment. I’m not suggesting you stop. I’m just letting you know that if you’re embracing physical activity for the first time, you don’t have to set the goal of completing your first marathon. You can, but it’s not necessary. It may actually have some negative consequences for you.
If you’re only using particular muscle groups and movement patterns on a consistent, sustained basis, you may be creating imbalances in your body’s functional abilities.
Physical Activity for Weight Loss
If you’re trying to use physical activity for weight loss, then burning calories on a daily basis is helpful. But eventually, your body will adjust to this metabolically. There’s a point to where the sustained exposure to the same activity on the same basis will not really change the energy balance of your body and help you to lose further weight.
In order to better understand what causes weight loss, you’ll need to see our series on the true causes of weight gain, and how to lose weight successfully. It’s far more complicated than just eating less and exercising.
However, if the thought of engaging in an endurance activity such as a triathlon, running, cycling, or swimming is appealing to you, then go for it. Enjoy it. But try to balance it out with other exercises, and try to give your body periods of appropriate rest. Also, incorporate these overall foundational principles into your exercise pattern. You can certainly do intervals while swimming, running, and cycling. Then settle into your longer periods of sustained exertion levels.
There’s no doubt that participation in endurance activities can improve mental wellbeing, improve mood, and give a strong sense of accomplishment. Our next blog will briefly discuss physical activity for weight loss.