Current wisdom and research tell us that high intensity training is the fastest path to just about every health and fitness goal, but some old research also tells us that it may be the ONLY path to maintaining your cardiovascular fitness!
In a series of studies in the 1980’s, Hickman et al sought to determine the minimum amount of exercise needed to maintain aerobic fitness. Perhaps the most valuable information that came from these studies was not that you could maintain your cardiovascular fitness in a matter of minutes a couple times per week, but that the only viable way to accomplish this result is through high intensity cardiovascular exercise. In one of Hickman’s experimental groups, cardiovascular fitness was maintained by training as little as 13 minutes, 2 times per week (that is only 26 total minutes of cardio per week).
Compare that with the group of subjects that continued training 6 times per week for 40 minutes, (YES that is 4 hours of cardio each week!), but reduced the intensity of their exercise. This group experienced a dramatic drop in aerobic fitness. In fact, one experimental group, despite training 6 days per week for 40 minutes, returned to their pre-training levels of aerobic fitness due exclusively to their reduction in intensity during exercise sessions…meaning they were literally getting ZERO results from 6 days per week of exercise.
Just another reason to suck it up and go all out on your cardio workouts…it will save you time and maximize your results!