Exercise: is higher intensity better?

High intensity exercise is all the rage.  But, just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s the most beneficial for you…


Swimming is great exercise. Photo credit: Pennathletics.com

Adapted from an article at Livestrong.com, here are some reasons why moderate to low intensity workouts are beneficial:

1)      You’ll live longer.  Recent studies showed that joggers who moved at a moderate intensity (10-11 minute miles) had a lower mortality risk than those who ran more than 20 miles/week at much faster pace (7+mph), and that they have longer life spans.

2)      Reduced risk of injury.  Less wear and tear on the body.  A combination of moderate and vigorous activity is good.  However, performing only vigorous activity frequently (more than 5 days/week) may increase chance of injury.

3)      More enjoyment.  Too much intensity can also affect our enjoyment of exercise; it can make exercise less enjoyable, which usually means we won’t keep it up.  To keep the enjoyment high, mix it up with higher and lower levels of intensity.

4)      Moderate intensity exercise helps with baseline fitness level and recovery so you have more to devote to your bigger workouts.

5)      You may eat less afterward.  Studies show that many eat more after a high intensity work out vs. a lower intensity workout.  Moderate exercise may also lessen food cravings.

6)      Better sleep.  Moderate exercise doesn’t keep you amped up as much when it’s time to sleep.

7)      Moderate exercise improves blood sugar and insulin levels. As much as 50% in the following 24 hours.

8)      Keeps you looking and feeling younger.  Moderate intensity workouts have shown to lessen the effects of aging on our cells, effectively reducing the effects of aging on our bodies.  And, really, who doesn’t want to feel and look younger?

Jogging, walking, lifting weights, swimming, cycling, yoga or pilates are some examples of moderate intensity exercises.  But, if you prefer other types of exercise, that’s okay, too.  In most cases, any exercise is better than none…  🙂

7 thoughts on “Exercise: is higher intensity better?

  1. Pingback: The “magic pill” | all things hot pink!

  2. I saw this on Livestrong and sort of sighed. Mostly because I’ve cut a lot of my moderately paced cardio because I read another article (which I honestly think was ALSO on Livestrong) about how too much moderate intensity can actually make you GAIN weight. So much conflicting info out there, but I love the last sentence you added because I don’t think any exercise people do and enjoy should be discouraged. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your comments! Yes, there is a LOT of conflicting information out there regarding how to exercise, how much to exercise, and at what intensity. Most of what I have read lately about moderate and high intensity exercise is that it can increase your appetite, which may be to blame for any possible weight increase. But, as long as you’re aware that could happen, knowledge is power. If you prefer one type of exercise over another, go for it. You’re more likely to stay with it if you enjoy it. And, for the obvious health benefits, any exercise is better than none. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Judging intensity - Missys Sports Blog

  4. I disagree with the final two points. High Intensity Training (HIT) actually improves insulin regulation and can prevent medical problems such as diabetes when combined with a correct diet. Moderate and Low level exercise has been shown to increase free radical damage in the body due to increased oxidation of cells which in turn leads to signs of ageing. HIT also has a lot of other benefits, too long to mention here. Other than this I think its a good blog! Please check out my blog on exercise and nutrition tips and let me know what you think.

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