Whilst many may prefer a fast-paced, high-intensity workout, one that speeds up your heart-rate, pushes your muscles to the limit, leaves you sweating buckets and achieves that post-workout burn. Others may dread the thought of that sort of exercise regime, or perhaps are simply unable to do so, due to health restrictions and so forth. Often, when many of us think of exercise, we consider the higher-intensity cardiovascular fitness routines to be the most beneficial, however, slow-paced, lower intensity regimes can be extremely beneficial and have many perks of their own. Whilst the world is in the midst of a global health crisis, exercise to keep fitness, health and immune system strength up Is of vital importance. Further, as many of us are spending more time within our own homes, daily exercise has possibly decreased. Doing what you can, is better than nothing.
The average consensus, is that ‘For health, doctors should “prescribe” at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 15 minutes of intense exercise a day, according to Harvard Health. The NHS and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week (or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio), moderate exercise includes activities such as ‘brisk walking.’ Moderate exercise may not be the quickest way to burn fat, but when done consistently can keep you healthy, strong and fit.
Speaking to Huffington Post, Kate Dale, leader of the This Girl Can and Join the Movement campaigns, encouraging active exercise stated: ‘“I think we need to move away from thinking that there’s a right way to move – that unless you’re going further, faster and getting fitter you’re not doing it right. If it gets your heart rate up or your muscles working, it’s doing what it needs to do.” Evidence suggests that low intensity cardio has benefits such as increasing insulin sensitivity for diabetics, better balance for older adults, decreases waist size, helps recovery, builds muscle endurance, lessens fatigue, increases blood circulation, reduces the risk of injury, promotes a healthier immune system, burns fat and is more enjoyable for most people.
Some experts propose that low-intensity, slower workouts may be easier for many to do consistently and even daily, which makes them more beneficial in the long-term than the odd high-energy work out that is difficult to commit to. It may even be beneficial for those who love cardio or high-intensity workouts, to incorporate a few slower sessions into their regimes, making work-outs more likely to go long-term, offering a recovery period and incorporating a wider range of different movements.
If you are injured or suffering from an illness, low intensity workouts are ideal for recovery (ensure that you research or consult a doctor before undertaking a new fitness regime if you are in recovery). Slower workouts are also great for slowly increasing endurance and can help you improve your form for those longer workout sessions. Plus – a good slow stretch can do wonders for an aching body!
Options such as Pilates and Yoga offer this low-intensity work out and come with long-term benefits such as muscle flexibility, strength, better posture and for many, a better state of mental wellbeing. Yoga especially can be both slow and fast-paced depending on which regime you choose, so there is always the option of a moderate cardiovascular session, with vinyasa for example. Adriene Mishler, is the founder of the popular YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene, which currently has 8.8 million subscribers. Speaking to Huffington Post UK, Mishler said:
‘“I also think this is a really valuable time for us to learn how to mindfully sit with ourselves and our thoughts, feelings, sensations. While we are physically distanced from our communities, this is a beautiful time to lean into the practice of stillness, self-care, and ultimately the practice of befriending your mind and body. Practice being your own best friend… Daily or regular practice, in any form, will improve body functions such as digestive or immune function. It will also bring balance to the nervous system, which will influence mental and emotional health, as well as bringing the body to an optimal state. When in a more optimal state we notice improvements in ability to focus – all the way to better sleep… This sort of regular, easy practice can “invite big changes slowly”, she adds. “Over time, that can bring flexibility, energy, and good posture that will inevitably motivate one to move more, get the heart rate up, and continue to focus on building practices that serve.”’