Today, the closest thing to the fountain of youth is sweat- your own, that is. If you want to live a longer and healthier life, make sure at least 30% of your physical activity is vigorous. In other words, make sure you break a sweat. This means that if you’re getting the minimum recommended amount of exercise per week of 150 minutes, at least 45 of those minutes should be composed of vigorous activity. According to recent studies, individuals who engaged in vigorous activity for up to 30% of their weekly exercise decreased their mortality risks by 9%. Those who engaged for more than 30% weekly, reduced it by 13%. No increases in mortality risks were noted among individuals who completed higher amounts of weekly vigorous activity.
Exercise also helps prevent obesity, by reducing the amount of visceral fat in the body. Visceral fat accumulates around vital organs- liver, intestines, and pancreas. Excessive amounts of this type of fat, versus subcutaneous fat found just beneath the skin, leads to coronary artery disease (CAD). In CAD, stiffening of the blood vessels occurs, decreasing circulation throughout the body- including the penis. Erectile dysfunction is a common symptom of CAD in overweight or obese men. To improve your physical and sexual health, exercise is paramount.
Examples of vigorous exercise include:
- Running or Jogging
- Race-walking or aerobic walking at least 5 mph
- Skipping rope
- Bicycling at least 10 mph, or uphill
- Calisthenics- vigorous effort: push-ups, pull-ups, lunges
- Jumping Jacks
- Circuit training
- Tennis- singles
- Field sports (ex: soccer)
- Court sports (ex: basketball, racquetball)
- Swimming- continuous laps
- Rowing- at least 4 mph
- Cross-country skiing
- Beach volleyball
There are many ways to incorporate vigorous exercise into your regime, and you don’t need a whole lot of time to do it. Here are some examples of brief high intensity exercise routines:
- Elliptical Intervals: 2 minute warm-up, 8 minutes of intervals- first 10 seconds of each minute are at maximal effort, last 50 seconds are easy active recovery. After 8 intervals, 2 minute cool-down. (Can also use Stair-stepper, treadmill/running, rowing machine… etc.)
Total time = 12 minutes.
- Calisthenics Circuit: Jumping Jacks x 1 minute, push-ups x 10-15 reps, lunges x 1 minute. Repeat 3 times. Total time = 7-10 minutes
- Cycling/Spin bike: 5 minutes warm-up, 10 minutes of intervals resistance (climbing) intervals- first 20 seconds of each minute increase resistance (“climb”), last 40 seconds easy “flat”. After 10 intervals, 5 minute cool-down.
Total time = 20 minutes
As you can see, the time commitment is minimal compared to the pay-off. Depending on your own fitness level, you may modify the protocols to make them easier or more difficult. Remember, whatever makes you sweat, will help you live longer and stronger.
by Rima Sidhy
Rima Sidhu is an Exercise Physiologist at Maze Sexual and Reproductive Health. At Maze, Rima focuses on improving patients’ health behaviors through diet and exercise modifications, in order to assist in the therapy of male sexual dysfunction and improve endothelial function. She utilizes a lifestyle and behavioral approach to create wellness goals for patients to enhance their treatment outcomes.