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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Spending Less Time Working Out

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Spending Less Time Working Out

Chances are, if you work out and go to the gym on a regular basis, you probably think that the longer you spend exercising, the better.

And you’re not alone. Most people think that if they had hours every day to devote to cardio, weight lifting, and stretching and recovery, only then would they finally get in the best shape of their lives.

But since you probably don’t have a few extra hours each day to spend exercising, here’s the good news: longer workouts aren’t necessarily better. In fact, you can actually get more done in less time if you work out using an incredibly efficient style of training known as high intensity interval training (HIIT).

So what exactly is HIIT?

HIIT is an exercise strategy alternating periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.

Basically, that means you’ll be working as hard you possibly can for a short amount of time, resting, then working hard again. And an entire HIIT session usually only lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes.

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While traditional HIIT involves forms of cardio like sprinting, cycling and even swimming, you can include all kinds of exercises like burpees, pull-ups, kettlebell swings and push-ups for a much shorter yet more effective workout.

Here are five reasons why you should spend less time working out and embrace HIIT.

1. It removes the “I don’t have time” excuse

What do you think the #1 excuse is for not working out?

That’s right: lack of time.

Over and over, well intentioned people who plan on working out will let their plans fall through because they just don’t have time.

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And really, who has an extra hour or two a day to spend in a gym? Not busy people; that’s for sure.

But that’s the thing about HIIT: since it only takes 10-20 minutes to complete, it makes the “I don’t have time” excuse completely moot. Because I don’t care how busy you are, you can find a few extra minutes a day for some heart pounding, sweat pouring exercise.

2. It’s more efficient

If you hate to run, but have always assumed that running for endless periods of time is the best way to lose weight, here’s some good news: you’re wrong.

Shorter, more intense workouts will actually help you burn fat, build muscle and increase your endurance faster than running at a steady pace. In fact, you can make more progress in just 15 minutes of HIIT than you can running for an entire hour.

That makes it the ideal training method for anyone looking to lose weight, get stronger or even train for a race as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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3. It burns more calories

If you’re trying to shed a few (or several) pounds, you’ll be happy to know that just 10 minutes of intense exercise like HIIT can burn more calories than half an hour of running on a treadmill.

And not only does HIIT burn more calories in less time than steady state cardio, it also helps boost your metabolism for the next 24-48 hours afterwards—meaning you’ll continue to burn more calories long after your workout is over.

4. It burns fat (instead of muscle)

When you do cardio for hours on end to lose weight, you will lose weight as long as you’re eating right as well. But not only will long treadmill, elliptical and cycling sessions cause you to lose fat, you’ll also be losing muscle in the process too.

Why is this an issue? Well, other than the obvious reasons (muscles sculpt your body and make you strong), muscle loss means a lowered metabolism as well. And a lower metabolism means you’ll be burning less calories naturally though out the day—meaning you’ll have to work harder to continue losing weight.

On the other hand, the short, intense bursts required by interval training ensures your body burns more calories from fat, not muscle. In fact, HIIT can help you burn fat faster than any other form of exercise, which is why athletes, bodybuilders and regular gym-goers alike swear by it when they want to reduce body fat.

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5. It gets you results quicker

Even if you’re doing longer steady state cardio workouts on a consistent basis, it might take up to a month (or more) before you start noticing any results. And as a worse case scenario, your body might get so used to the workouts that you cease to make any progress at all.

But with HIIT workouts, you may start noticing and feeling results in as little as two weeks—or less.

In fact, there’s a good chance you will start feeling faster, stronger and physically fitter after doing only a few HIIT sessions. And think about how that progress will add up over a month or more!

But remember, the harder you push yourself during your workouts, the faster you’ll see results.

So work hard, be consistent, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in a short amount of time.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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