A sedentary life is bad for your health, really bad. That’s bad news—really bad news— considering that the average adult sits for
seven or more hours per day. That gives you the
same risk for heart disease as smoking does! Your
heart and blood vessels are made up of muscles,
and they need to be exercised to stay healthy.
The good news is that even if you have been
sedentary for a while, starting an exercise program
will significantly improve your health. And when
you do exercise, you’ll look better and feel better.
But to reap the benefit of exercise, you have
to use specific techniques, ones developed by
exercise physiologists. One of the best-studied
exercise programs is Nordic 4x4 high-interval
intensity training (HIIT), which was developed
to improve endurance of cross-country ski teams.
Busy people can use specific
exercise techniques—ones proven
to make their hearts healthier
BY SARAH KOHL, MD
It’s based on the fact that it takes at least two
minutes of high-intensity exercise to get all the
blood moving through your heart, which means
exercise intervals should be at least four minutes
long to improve your heart health.
The program consists of four minutes of maximal sustained effort followed by slower activity,
repeated four times.
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
You plan. Exercising properly isn’t hard. It just
requires advance planning.
We know that willpower is finite. You have a
certain amount of it available every day, and when
you use it up, your resolve weakens. It’s better
to make the decision once—I will exercise for 30
minutes five days a week, just after breakfast—than