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Thursday, April 16th, 2009 - 11:20 am

By JOHN BOBALIK

Exercise physiologist John Bobalik is coordinator of Purdue University Calumet’s Fitness Center, a comprehensive exercise and workout facility for students, faculty, staff and community members. It also serves as a laboratory setting for fitness management students.

Fit Tip Dude Exercising

Q. How do I maximize benefit from 30 minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise?

A. The good news is that if you perform a cardiovascular activity for 30 minutes four to six days a week at a moderate level of intensity, you will meet the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for developing and maintaining cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, you will burn calories, relieve stress, release endorphins, build muscle endurance and improve your odds for good health.

The bad news is that if you perform the same cardio activity in the same manner at the same speed/intensity each time you exercise, your muscles will grow accustomed to the exercise. That means they will become more efficient at that particular activity, resulting in the activity becoming easier to perform. So you will burn fewer calories, and your level of cardiovascular fitness will plateau off or diminish.

To maximize the benefit of a 30-minute workout, you must tweak your routine. Here are some suggestions how:

  1. Switch to interval training. Instead of walking on a treadmill at the same speed, go three minutes at your normal speed then go two minutes at a faster speed. Alternate for 30 minutes.
  2. Use an incline. If you work out on a treadmill, set a 3 to 5-degree incline and exercise at your normal pace. You will work harder and burn more calories.
  3. Use more muscle groups. Walking on a flat surface like a treadmill uses fewer muscle groups than exercising on elliptical cross training equipment or using a rowing machine.
  4. Select an activity that burns more calories. Working out on a rowing machine burns more calories than walking or riding a stationary bike.