Happy New Year all you Treadmill Haters! - FIT Human Performance

Happy New Year all you Treadmill Haters!


January 6, 2013

I have been wondering about the long-term health consequences of total cardio-avoidance. Do I really have to do cardio at all?

According to pretty much every study ever done on the human body, the answer is yes. We all do. Cardiovascular exercise, as Geralyn Coopersmith, the national director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, says, “not only improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to every cell in the body, but actually creates more mitochondria, which are the energy factories within the cells, so we can use oxygen more efficiently.” It reduces the risk of having a heart attack and developing type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer; it even keeps our minds sharp by increasing the number of neurons in the brain. And if we don’t use it, we lose it. “The body will decondition,” Cooppersmith says. But there is good news for you treadmill haters: we all still need cardio, but maybe not as much of it as previously thought – and plodding away on a treadmill for hours almost certainly isn’t the best way to get it. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise five times a week, but new studies show that it’s possible to reap many of the same health benefits from much briefer bouts – as little as three minutes three times a week – of high-intense activity.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, has been known for some time to improve endurance and calorie expenditure when incorporated into a regular weight training program. In a study conducted at Ontario’s McMaster University in 2006, one group of healthy male college students rode stationary bicycles for one and a half to two hours, while another group interspersed four to six 30-second sets of maximum-intensity cycling with four minutes of rest. After doing this activity three days a week for two weeks, the groups showed identical endurance-related molecular changes, even though one had done cardio exercise only about 30 minutes and the other about 10.5 hours.

Remember, someone busier than you is doing their daily cardio right this minute. There is absolutely no reason not to get to FIT for 10 minutes of high-intensity cardio three times a week, a FIT session or two, and maybe a STEP along the path to becoming SUPER FIT!

In good health,


“Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health,
lethargy, and fat.”  – Jill Johnson