Fitness, Pain

The Problem With High-Intensity Workouts

It sounds good: go all out for one or two minutes and you don’t have to spend 45 minutes doing something you don’t like to do.  But now comes Panteleimon “Paddy” Ekkekakis, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, who says the whole idea of high-intensity workouts is a bad one. Why? Because it reinforces that notion that exercise is necessarily unpleasant, and that its good to get it over with. “The message of ‘squeezing it in’ perpetuates the idea that exercise is a chore,” says Ekkekakis in an Iowa State news release. “We want to break down the association of exercise as punishment, as something unpleasant, something to tolerate or a bitter pill you have to swallow. For example, instead of viewing a bike ride as exercise, we want people to think of it as a chance to enjoy the outdoors or to spend time with family.”  Ekkekakis says high-intensity workouts may be fine for some people who are young and healthy, but for the majority of the population they are too unpleasant to sustain. “I fear these programs send the wrong public health message,” he says. ” The people who can maintain this type of training are a small minority. Most people are overweight, sedentary and not getting enough activity and the only objective that makes sense is to adopt a type and amount of exercise that will help you incorporate exercise into your daily life so you can be active for the rest of your life.”


One Comment

  1. I believe high intensity workouts are fantastic for those of us who already have an exercise ritual. To be able to go full out at any age for a minute or so, or sprinting, for a half a minute, is great fun during the effort with an even better feeling of accomplishment afterwards. I think to include HIT, we also need to make sure we are doing a balance routine, a stretching routine, and a more moderate endurance 17min to 1 hour routine. I mountain bike in the woods and although it is exercise, there are not many things I would rather do. I do 40 minute rides always trying to beat my earlier times in any temperature. Riding by myself or with friends is fantastic exercise. I see HIT or exercising with friends in great locations as strategic multitasking: exercise, fun, friendship, stress reduction being outdoors and mental relaxation – thinking of anything but work while exercising.

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