Because I jogged for so many miles a week or did aerobics classes, I was ravished afterward and felt like I "deserved" to eat whatever I wanted afterwards. And so I did. The reward system didn't make me feel stronger or faster, though. I steadily gained weight during the marathon running years!
Our fitness level may not get better or faster when we participate in chronic cardio because we are stressing our bodies. The chronic cardio puts stress on our heart and joints, and creates the hormone cortisol to rise. This stress hormone makes us hold on to our fat. Our bodies think we are running away from something for hours and we do not know when we will be able to stop to eat again. The emergency mode of our body takes over and our brain makes us hold on to fat for dear life! This is how the species was able to survive in ancient times. Our physiology doesn't recognize that we have a 7/11 on every corner or 24 hour grocery stores and diners!
So, how do we stop the madness? I say vary our exercise, a lot. Try short sprints for 30-60 seconds if on a treadmill, and then walk for 5 minutes. Do this for about half an hour and you will see improvements in strength, speed, and endurance. Get off the treadmill or elliptical and lift heavy things! Try a zumba class, go play with your kids in the park. Throw a frisbee, take a yoga or hot yoga class. Hike up the steepest hill, and bike up the steepest hill. Variety is the spice of life and your body will respond with more joy and physical fitness, so we can play more!
Until next week, blessings,
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