This is the fourth installment of my R.I.S.E.TM exercise training routine I introduced previously (see, “RISE Up!” and “Before and After”). As a reminder, “RISE” is my acronym for Resistance (R), Interval (I), Stretching (S), and Endurance (E) training. Each routine is designed to target a specific health and fitness related component.
Resistance training (R) has been shown to reduce belly fat and increase lean body mass (muscles) and lets you play like a kid again!
Interval sprint training (I) is great for improving cardiovascular (heart) fitness, increasing metabolism (calorie burn), reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass.
Stretching and restorative training (S) is ideal for improving balance, muscle tone and flexibility, lowering blood sugar and enhancing mood.
Endurance (E) training is best for lowering blood pressure and increasing feelings of happiness, it’s a great “stress buster”.
In this blog entry, I will explain the “E”, or endurance training, component.
I recommend you perform each routine 1 day per week for a total of 4 days of exercise per week. After the first 4 weeks feel free to choose one of the routines to perform a second time but I recommend not exceeding 5 days of exercise per week because your body needs time to recover, replenish, and rebuild. Always perform the dynamic warm-up before and a gentle cool-down after each RISE session.
**Before engaging in any exercise program, please obtain medical clearance from your primary health care provider. Dr. Paul recommends that all physical exercise be performed properly and safely so you avoid injury and allow yourself to make the most health and physical performance benefits.
Several years ago, I read a fascinating research study from Germany that documented the “runner’s high” in humans, for the first time.
By definition, the ‘runners high’ is an enhanced mood state that occurs during or following endurance (E) exercise of more than an hour. It is related to a flood of endorphins in the brain which are associated with feelings of euphoria, happiness, and for some, extreme peacefulness. The more endorphins released during exercise, the more intense the feelings.
Up until this study, the “runners high” was mostly anecdotal and never actually proven to exist from a scientific standpoint. However, the findings provided firsthand evidence that E exercise (≥ 60 minutes) increases endorphin release in the brain as well as feelings of euphoria and happiness.
As an avid endurance athlete myself, I have experienced the runners high for decades, so this study validated that my feelings were not imagined. More importantly, the study proved the ‘runners high’ is real and performing E exercise increases feelings of euphoria, happiness and peacefulness… it’s the purest form of a ‘natural high’.
For many people, including myself, Endurance exercise is addictive because of the ‘runners high’.
Best Tips for Performing Endurance (E) Exercise:
- Perform Endurance (E) exercise at an Intensity Level of 6 on my Intensity Scale (see RISE Up!). The effort level of 6 is characterized by exercise that can be performed while engaged in a conversation with a friend and can be sustained for 2-3 hours or longer.
- Perform E once per week for 60 minutes or longer using any form of exercise such as walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, rollerblading, rowing, etc.). Remember, endurance (E) exercise is all you need to live your life on a high!
- Ideally, perform E outside in nature, as this has been shown to enhance the beneficial mood effects
- Similar to Stretching (S) training discussed earlier, try to perform E first thing in the morning either before you have eaten or after a small morning snack, but are well hydrated with water, tea or a little morning “java” without cream and sugar.
- If you plan on exercising for more than 60 minutes, bring along a sports drink, trail mix or energy gel for extra nourishment, just in case. I think you’ll love the mood-boosting, blood pressure-lowering, and body fat burning effects of this exercise routine so much that you’ll be “addicted” too!
- Use any mode of exercise that uses the majority of your body such as, swimming, walking, running, cycling, cross-country skiing, rollerblading, skating, snowshoeing, hiking, etc.
- Learn to “tune-out ” to any electronic devices like; portable music players, internet, TV, radio so you can “tune-in” to your own body rhythms by feeling and listening to your body’s feedback while you are exercising. Pay attention to your heart beating, breathing rate, and muscles contracting… this is called being “mindful” and “present” with your body.
- At the beginning of each Endurance session perform a 5-minute dynamic warm-up and a gentle stretch when you finish (see The Before and After).