The idea of fitness has come a long, long way. As more studies on exercise programs are conducted, the more the definition of physical fitness will change. As the definition evolves, so do the parameters. How long do you have to workout? How often do you have to workout? What is most effective for cardio; is cardio even a sure fire way to lose the unwanted “lbs?” Let’s take a look at how the answer to these questions has changed over the years:

  1. Bigger emphasis on intensity than time: It’s all about the exertion and the effort you put forth; that’s what yields the greatest results. 10 minutes of brisk exercise can create hour long-lasting benefits. Click here to read more about this study. According to Shape magazine and fitness expert Jari Love, shorter workouts often involve quick movements and rapid muscle contractions which tap into carbs as a fuel source. “When your heart rate is elevated to the point that you are burning carbs primarily, it means you will burn more fat during the workout and even after the workout is over.”
  2. Consistency Doesn’t Mean Routine: As much as fitness must become a routine occurrence, the act should be anything but. To get better, you must progressively overload. Be aware: plateauing can occur in any exercise, even if you are mixing it up. A great way to prevent gains from diminishing is to systematically change one’s routine at certain fixed intervals. Both Muscle & Strength and Livestrong recommend systematically changing your routing in cycles or intervals. In an article by Livestrong, Fitness expert Andre Farnell suggested breaking your year up into three cycles each with different objectives: strength, endurance, toning, etc.
  3. There is such a thing as too much cardio: A recent study by the American Council on Exercise found that kettlebell exercises can burn up to 20 calories a minute—the equivalent of running at a 6-minute mile pace!
  4. Being active on off days: Yes, working out an hour a day will help you get the body you want. However, it’s not quite enough to completely counter the side effects of sitting around all day. Taking a walk during your lunch break, jittering your legs or running around with the kids for even 10 minutes at home will boost your results and your health. Plus, it will make “working out” less of a chore.
  5. Heart rate and target zones are important: More and more fitness brands, like Adidas, are creating their very own heart rate monitors. A few years back, pedometers were all the rage. Now, this concept isn’t quite changing–it’s only becoming more advanced. Walking is still super effective along with a workout regimen. But, the sure way to know what you’re burning (fat, cals, etc.) and how much is by TRACKING your personal zones.
  6. You can’t out exercise a poor diet: Sure you may be able to burn off some of the calories of that deep fried calzone, but the health detriments are far more severe the caloric intake. According to KBands Training, “in the same 3 minutes it takes to consume 800-1000 calories of food a person only burns approximately 40-45 calories in high impact cardio exercise.”