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Alfred001

Best excercise: HIIT, steady cardio or weight training?

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Let me first say that by best I mean best for health, with no regard at all for body building (weight loss or muscle gain).

I'm wondering whether anyone is familiar with any research that could answer the following questions:

#1 Which type of exercise is best for health (paying no mind to weight loss or muscle gain)?

HIIT, steady cardio or weight lifting?

#2 If I am already doing HIIT or steady cardio, is there any additional health benefit to be gleaned adding weight lifting into the mix?

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If you look at overall health outcome, it does not seem to matter (much). The precise exercise is more important to improve performance in specific areas though even then studies are not clearly consistent (with some exceptions, but I this is really outside my expertise). 

When it comes to overall health benefit regular exercise of any sort has a huge benefit especially on cardiovascular health and the benefit then kind of tapers off. Some studies have shown that higher intensity provide higher benefits over longer but lower intensity exercise.

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Your heart function is a large determinant of overall health.
The heart is a muscle just like every other. If you 'stress' it, it will adapt by becoming stronger and/or bigger.
Unfortunately there is no way to directly exercise the heart. We can only indirectly stress it by exercising other body parts.

You want to make it pump harder and more forcefully, to provide oxygen and fuel to the muscles which you can directly work.
So, I would think exercising the largest muscles in your body ( thighs/glutes and possibly back ) for extended periods of time, would provide the stimulus for your heart to pump harder/faster and provide more oxygen/fuel.

Typical bodybuilding methods don't really do this, as the heavy weights ( while providing incentive to that particular muscle to grow/strengthen ) don't really tax the O2/fuel delivery system.
I would suggest lunges or squats to parallel ( no weight ), as many as you can possibly do ( try for 100 ) for 4-5 sets, so as to get your heart rate above 180bpm.

Edited by MigL

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@Alfred001, Age and current health level plays a role in the sort of exercises which would be most beneficial for health. Why are you dismissing weight and muscle from the conversation? A healthy body mass index would take both into consideration.  

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Based on the previous answers, I think various forms of running is the best type of workout for the heart muscle. Any other type of movement should be good for anything else you desire in terms of health.

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

Your heart function is a large determinant of overall health.
The heart is a muscle just like every other. If you 'stress' it, it will adapt by becoming stronger and/or bigger.
Unfortunately there is no way to directly exercise the heart. We can only indirectly stress it by exercising other body parts.

You want to make it pump harder and more forcefully, to provide oxygen and fuel to the muscles which you can directly work.
So, I would think exercising the largest muscles in your body ( thighs/glutes and possibly back ) for extended periods of time, would provide the stimulus for your heart to pump harder/faster and provide more oxygen/fuel.

Typical bodybuilding methods don't really do this, as the heavy weights ( while providing incentive to that particular muscle to grow/strengthen ) don't really tax the O2/fuel delivery system.
I would suggest lunges or squats to parallel ( no weight ), as many as you can possibly do ( try for 100 ) for 4-5 sets, so as to get your heart rate above 180bpm.

Maximum heart rate is typically assumed to be 220 - your age in years.

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At my age, running is very hard on arthritic knees.

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2 minutes ago, MigL said:

At my age, running is very hard on arthritic knees.

I think cycling is better. I cycle quickly to get my heart going and cycle slowly in high gear to stress my legs alternately

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56 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I think cycling is better. I cycle quickly to get my heart going and cycle slowly in high gear to stress my legs alternately

Not sure what I would do without a bike. I am amazed at the quick recovery compared to other forms of exercise. I think it is good for arthritis, generally speaking, gets the blood flowing with low impact.

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Just now, J.C.MacSwell said:

Not sure what I would do without a bike. I am amazed at the quick recovery compared to other forms of exercise. I think it is good for arthritis, generally speaking, gets the blood flowing with low impact.

Yeah, as one gets older I think running and other high impact activities  is too jarring for an aging skeleton. I think steady, low impact exercise, like swimming and cycling keeps your body tuned to repairing itself in a way that's manageable. I'm using 'impact' as relates to sudden physical shock/vibration.

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1 minute ago, StringJunky said:

Yeah, as one gets older I think running and other high impact activities  is too jarring for an aging skeleton. I think steady, low impact exercise, like swimming and cycling keeps your body tuned to repairing itself in a way that's manageable. I'm using 'impact' as relates to sudden physical shock/vibration.

I was as well. I have ready access to quite a few trails, so any bad impacts should be pretty limited...as long as I don't wipe out into a tree or a rider/runner coming the other way.

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7 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I was as well. I have ready access to quite a few trails, so any bad impacts should be pretty limited...as long as I don't wipe out into a tree or a rider/runner coming the other way.

Good. I wasn't sure. :)  I don't live as dangerously as you, I just do 5-10 miles/day on the road and cycle paths.

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What about stretching ? Does that lay the foundations for exercise?

Would it allow us to exercise  more as the body gets older?

 

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On 14.10.2018 at 6:46 PM, Alfred001 said:

Let me first say that by best I mean best for health, with no regard at all for body building (weight loss or muscle gain).

I'm wondering whether anyone is familiar with any research that could answer the following questions:

#1 Which type of exercise is best for health (paying no mind to weight loss or muscle gain)?

HIIT, steady cardio or weight lifting?

#2 If I am already doing HIIT or steady cardio, is there any additional health benefit to be gleaned adding weight lifting into the mix?

I'm typing this from a point of view of someone who had a spine injury that had to be operated due to too much heavy weight lifting at 42 years of age.
My advice is whatever path in your fitness quests you choose, do it in such a way that you will be capable of sustaining your plan for years...in fact shoot for doing fitness training until the day you die. The rest is technical stuff which has to suit your body type, lifestyle, mental state, etc. It will be easy to figure out what suits you best and it always changes....one year you're into calisthenics, the next you prefer crossfit - you generally need to change things around to be able to achieve new goals and have fun while doing it. The most important part in any physical fitness endevour (or any other for that matter) is to stick to it and the best way to achieve that is to have fun while doing it.

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13 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Good. I wasn't sure. :)  I don't live as dangerously as you, I just do 5-10 miles/day on the road and cycle paths.

Pretty much the same. The trails I go on are not technical. Rail trails (railway beds converted to gravel or even sometimes pavement) or prepared multi-use trails.

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1 minute ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Pretty much the same. The trails I go on are not technical. Rail trails (railway beds converted to gravel or even sometimes pavement) or prepared multi-use trails.

Right.

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On 10/15/2018 at 5:32 PM, StringJunky said:

Yeah, as one gets older I think running and other high impact activities  is too jarring for an aging skeleton. I think steady, low impact exercise, like swimming and cycling keeps your body tuned to repairing itself in a way that's manageable. I'm using 'impact' as relates to sudden physical shock/vibration.

We all have type 1 (slow) and type 2 (fast) muscle fibers. In my experience type 2 is lost more quickly and as we age. While cycling and swimming are great exercise there should be a sprinting component involved to ensure type 2 muscles get work. Also I think as one ages remaining coordinate is important too. Low impact exercises don't always mimic the bodies natural mechanics in terms of the what we need to be able to do day to day. Plus higher intensity exercises recruit more motor units at once which can help with coordination and reflexes. 

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6 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

We all have type 1 (slow) and type 2 (fast) muscle fibers. In my experience type 2 is lost more quickly and as we age. While cycling and swimming are great exercise there should be a sprinting component involved to ensure type 2 muscles get work. Also I think as one ages remaining coordinate is important too. Low impact exercises don't always mimic the bodies natural mechanics in terms of the what we need to be able to do day to day. Plus higher intensity exercises recruit more motor units at once which can help with coordination and reflexes. 

Right. Better add a sprint section. :)

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