Different training “cocktails” have the same fitness benefits

Cocktails and exercise don’t usually mix. But a new study from Columbia University in collaboration with researchers around the world has come up with a new concept: the training cocktail. It’s not really alcohol (sorry), but it acts as a relevant metaphor for anyone who wants to “mix” their workouts with hard, medium, and easy activities to get in shape and be healthier, with no stress. ‘train longer or harder.

Here’s how it works: Now you can combine different training ingredients (walking and boot camp or HIIT and running, or gardening and strength training) to achieve the same number of health benefits as if you were training. hard, straight, for 30 minutes for an hour and didn’t add those “softer” activities throughout the day. Or to put it another way: if all you do is crush it at the gym and sit all day, you won’t see the results you would have if you added light activity during the other hours as well.

Getting the full benefits of this type of maximum mixed workout involves being active outside of the gym, doing light activity throughout the day, as your 30 minutes in the gym is only a small part of your time. overall wakefulness hours, according to the study. So, to get the best results from the intense training you do, add in walking, golfing (pulling sticks instead of riding a cart), gardening, swimming, or hiking – anything but sitting for long periods of time. periods, to get that perfect blend of easy, medium and hard “cocktail” of effort that will help you reach your optimal health and fitness goals.

“For decades, we’ve been telling people that the way to stay healthy is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week,” says Keith Diaz, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral medicine and director of exercise. testing lab at the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

“But even if you’re one of the few adults who can take this advice, 30 minutes is only 2% of your entire day,” says Diaz. “Is it really possible that our activity habits for just 2% of the day are all that matters when it comes to health?” (Answer: No.)

The amount of cardio or strength exercise you get at the gym is actually just one part of the fitness picture, says Diaz, as reported by Daily science, since you can more than make up for those 30 minutes depending on how you spend the rest of the day.

Here’s how a fitness cocktail works, to get results in the gym

You work out at the gym during Bootcamp, then sit all day in front of your keyboard and wonder why you’re not in better shape. Instead of looking at just that 30 minutes of exercise and the effects of your HIIT training, the researchers decided to look at the combinations of how the activities of different people throughout the day “add up” to improve fitness, health and longevity. So even if you only do a shorter high intensity workout (13 minutes), you can still lose weight, get fit, and gain longevity by adding other light or moderate fitness elements throughout. throughout the day. Researchers looked at each activity and determined whether it had harmful or beneficial effects on fitness levels and long-term health. The goal was to find “the best combination, or cocktail, of ingredients needed to extend life,” Diaz explained.

The benefits of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise depend on how you spend the rest of the day, the authors found. Adding those minutes is not enough if you are sitting the rest of your waking hours. Instead, you’d better spend less time crushing it and more time moving it around.

“Getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day, or 150 minutes a week, is what is currently recommended, but you still have the potential to undo all that good work if you sit too long,” says Sébastien Chastin, PhD, professor of dynamic health behavior at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland and lead author of the study.

With data from more than 130,000 adults measured in six studies in the UK, US and Sweden, researchers looked at various combinations of activities and their impact on death rates. what follows:

  • Moderate to vigorous exercise, defined as brisk walking, running, or anything that increases the heart rate),
  • Light physical activity, such as housework or occasional walking which does not increase the heart rate
  • Sedentary behavior like sitting at your desk or watching TV

The results were that your 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise should be mixed with other light activities for the best long term effects.

Doing 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity reduced the risk of premature death by up to 80% for anyone sitting less than 7 hours per day, it did not reduce the risk of death for those who were sitting more from 11 o’clock. at 12 hours a day, the researchers found out.

“In other words, it’s not as easy as checking that ‘exercise’ box on your to-do list,” says Diaz. “A healthy movement profile requires more than 30 minutes of daily exercise. Getting around and not staying sedentary all day is also important.”

Light physical activity is more important than you think, study finds

Research found that people who spent only a few minutes in moderate to vigorous physical activity reduced their risk of premature death by 30%, provided they also spent six or more hours in light physical activity the rest of the day. daytime. .

“You might be a parent with young children and you just can’t make it to the gym to exercise,” Diaz says. “But you can still have a healthy movement profile as long as you move around a lot throughout the day while you go about your daily activities.”

Sitting isn’t as bad for your health as smoking, but it’s still bad, Diaz says. “While there are always sitting positions in our lives, like most things in life, it is about sitting in moderation. The key is to find the right balance between sedentary time and physical activity. “

So what works best? A 3 to 1 fitness cocktail formula

For best results, follow this ratio: for every hour of sitting, do three minutes of moderate to vigorous activity or 12 minutes of light activity. This has proven to be the optimal “cocktail” for improving health and reducing the risk of premature death.

“Our new formula strikes the right balance between moderate to vigorous exercise and sitting to help people lead longer, healthier lives,” says Chastin. “The remaining hours should be spent moving as much as possible and getting a good night’s sleep.”

Here are the best combinations of activities to achieve health and longevity and reduce the risk of premature death by 30%. A rule of thumb: Every time you reduce the amount of vigorous exercise you do in a day, increase the amount of light activity you do.

  • 55 minutes of exercise, 4 hours of light physical activity and 11 hours of sitting
  • 13 minutes of exercise, 5.5 hours of light physical activity and 10.3 hours of sitting
  • 3 minutes of exercise, 6 hours of light physical activity and 9.7 hours of sitting

Researchers also found that just two minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise is equivalent to four to 12 minutes of light physical activity. And both are worth it for fitness and longevity.

“This is good news for people who may not have the time, ability or desire to engage in formal exercise,” Diaz said. “They can get health benefits from a lot of light physical activity and just a little moderate to vigorous activity.”

At the end of the line : There is no one-size-fits-all approach to physical activity, according to Diaz. Instead, mix things up, but don’t just think because you’ve spent 30 minutes at the gym it’s fine to sit all day. “It may be more important to mix a movement cocktail that includes a good dose of exercise and light activity to replace sitting,” according to Diaz.


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