Working out is far more than just six-packs and showing off; it should leave you healthier, protect you from disease and generally make you happier. It should, in short, get you fit for life. And we mean for your life today, as well as investing in your physical state for the future. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that increasing your energy expenditure by just 4 000kJ per week can lower your risk of death from major illnesses by 20%. Which is a lot.
But there’s more. By tailoring the style, structure, intensity and duration of your workouts, you can specifically strengthen your body’s resistance to five of the biggest threats to your health and improve your overall well-being every time you hit the gym.
It’s the healthiest workout in the world. Can you afford not to do it?
1. Lift Big To Avoid…
Smart men go heavy. The Alzheimer’s Society reports a six-fold rise in the risk of developing the disease if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, while recent studies suggest regular exercise helps move LDL (bad cholesterol) from the blood to the liver, where it’s expelled from the body. Brandeis University found that weightlifting circuits performed with a heavy load (60% of your one-rep max and above) were the most effective exercise for boosting memory function.
2. Run Off Your Risk Of…
Regular vigorous aerobic activity cuts your chance of developing prostate cancer by 61%, according to a study by Harvard University. The research found that activities which multiply your resting metabolic rate by six, such as running, swimming, cycling, racket sports, rowing or high-intensity circuits, create an inhospitable environment for tumour growth. As an added bonus, they’re not bad for shrinking your waistline, either.
3. Push Yourself To Dodge…
Work hard against one of the fastest growing health concerns in the developed world. Research from the American Diabetes Association found a 46.3% increase in insulin efficiency when men lifted weights to the point of muscular exhaustion. That’s because more fibres are recruited than during basic aerobic activity, allowing your body to better access and release glycogen stores. You should use 50-80% of your one-rep max weight and perform until failure.
4. Start Slow To Outsmart…
Warming up before working out is an investment in the future of your joints. A Nottingham University study found that you are 4.2 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis if you’ve had even a moderate injury to one of your joints. Warm-ups that include joint awareness, coordination and high-intensity upper and lower-body moves result in the greatest reduction in injury risk.
5. Work More Muscles To Beat…
Exercising multiple muscle groups in one session maximises the oxygenated blood your heart needs. “The rhythmic contraction and expansion of arteries allows better dilation and more oxygen to get to the heart,” says Professor Jonathan Myers of the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health System in California. Myers states that full-body exertion results in a 30% dip in C-reactive protein levels: a measurement