Presumably, there was once upon a time when your high school gym teacher had the class perform additional sets of toe touches, laps around the track, or jumping jacks. If you take it further after school with varsity sports, your coach would more than likely have pushed you to the brink of collapse to prepare the team to win the next game or race. Does exercise have to hurt to gain improvements in strength and stamina?
Not at all! Exercise physiologist Dr. Stephen Seiler of the University of Adger found compelling results after associating athlete performance with training intensity in professional athletes. He divided up training intensity into three zones:
- Green – Can talk during exercise
- Yellow – Somewhat harder and can talk briefly
- Red – Strenuous and gasping for air
What do you think is the percent of the training time that professional long-distance runners, cyclists, and a winter olympian with 15 medals spend training in the green zone? According to Dr. Seiler, it is 80 percent of the time, with the rest spent in the yellow and red zones. Check out the video -> https://youtu.be/MALsI0mJ09I?t=504 (TEDx Talks, 2019).
This finding is great news for fitness enthusiasts, beginners, and newcomers. No matter your fitness level, you can always adapt and take your green zone where you can run faster and lift heavier by making time for exercise. You might have heard about the common recommendation of “exercising at least five days a week” and “getting in 10,000 steps a day.” The truth of the matter is, while we have advanced as a civilization, we have evolved slowly in that we were not made to sit for long periods of time or consume processed foods. Challenge yourself to make the habit of getting and staying physical.
It is very inspiring to see on social media where posters have seen results after running, doing push-ups, or playing table tennis every day for a month or as extreme as for a year. That is not to say you have to engage in physical activity every day. You are allowed breaks to recover like professional athletes. Rather, try to do more of what our ancestors have done in the past where they had to hunt and gather food by walking more and getting outdoors. Make moving you a way of life.
TEDx Talks. (2019, December 2). How “normal people” can train like the worlds best endurance athletes | Stephen Seiler | TEDxArendal [Video]. https://youtu.be/MALsI0mJ09I