If you pay attention to the CDC’s guidelines for physical activity or any other health-related advice, you know that your schedule should include five days a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or three days a week of vigorous exercise. You need to rest for one or two days in each period in order for your body to recuperate. The same is true of strength training. Rather than lifting every day, you should do so two or three times a week. This way, you can see results without overtaxing your muscles. It’s what is best, and so you do your best to comply. You take weekly breathers, maximizing the benefits of your workouts. But did you know that there is more you could do – more resting you could do – to the make the most of your exercise?
Researchers have found that a 20-minute break, half-way through a one-hour workout is more beneficial than an uninterrupted 60-minute push. In the study, women who chose to pause burned 20 percent more fat than those who didn’t. It’s believed that the rest allowed the fat-burning hormones to work more effectively and thus made the workout better. What’s more, it’s thought that the same would be true regardless of the breather’s duration. It could be 20 minutes or two hours; you would still reap the same rewards.
This discovery could make fitting exercise into your daily schedule considerably easier. You could get home, work out for half an hour, make dinner and then finish your workout. Or you could do a portion of your workout over lunch, and finish it in the evening. You can shape your routine to incorporate multiple periods of physical activity rather than one large block. Fitness doesn’t have to be a huge interruption in your day. It can be a refreshing, invigorating and manageable part of your life.