Indoor gyms may still be closed in Ontario but you don’t need anything fancy for this exercise prescription. In fact just getting outdoors with a pair of running shoes and water bottle is enough!
The effects of exercise on your hormones and your weight will vary depending on the type of activities you choose (e.g., cardio, weight training or yoga) and the intensity and duration of your sessions. But no matter what type of exercise we do, working out is just plain good for us.
Testosterone will rise higher when you play a competitive sport and even higher still if you win.
You need both cardio and strength workout sessions each week. Let’s talk about how to do the right type of cardio first.
THE HORMONE DIET INTERVAL CARDIO TRAINING
We all know sticking to a regular exercise routine can be tough. Choosing an activity you enjoy—one you know you’ll keep up with consistently—is always your best cardiovascular fitness option. However, if you want the most bang for your cardio buck, then high-intensity interval training on the treadmill (walking or running), elliptical trainer, stationary bike or indoor/outdoor track is your secret to success.
Short bursts of exercise not only improve your cardiovascular fitness but also your fat-burning capacity, even during low- or moderate-intensity workouts. What’s more, high-intensity training provides a boost of our feel-good and appetite-controlling hormones, which can truly be your secret weapons against unwanted weight gain during the cold, dark winter months when many of us are prone to depression and cravings for comfort foods.
Don’t rush into interval training if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems or if you are over the age of 60. If you fit into any one of these categories, you should definitely consult your doctor first.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of interval training, here are a few examples to choose from. You’ll do cardio at least once a week for 20 to 30 minutes. A second cardio workout is optional.
Four Examples of Interval Training
1. Steady-pace intervals of walking, jogging, running, cycling, etc.
2. Intervals that increase in speed or intensity throughout the workout
The example I have included here applies to running on a treadmill. However, a similar approach could be taken by changing the tension or peddling faster on a stationary bike; by increasing the level or moving faster on your elliptical machine; or by walking on an incline on the treadmill while increasing the speed or incline.
3. Intervals that vary by duration
Rather than increasing the speed or intensity, as shown in the example above, your intervals could range in duration, for example, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 30 seconds with 1-minute, low-intensity sessions between each interval.
4. Advanced option: Sprinting (only 15 minutes or so)
Warm up with a light jog for 5 to 10 minutes.
Sprint 50 to 100 metres and lightly jog or walk back to your starting point. Repeat 10 times.
Cool down with a light jog for another 5 to 10 minutes.
You could also use this approach on hills by running (or speed walking) up the hill and lightly jogging down.
Not ready for this type of intensity yet? That’s okay, we have great tips for walkers too. Read Dr. Turner ND’s blogs on Timing Your Walking Workouts for Fat Loss and also Boost Your Walking Session Intensity for Fat-Burning