Thursday, May 14, 2009

Excercise: The Way Nature Intended

Blog posted originally on - 5/14/09

Last week, I squared off with the South Beach Diet Doctor Arthur Agatson to discuss whether it's possible for a person to be both fit and fat at the same time.

This week, my discussion continues with a debate about interval exercise versus high intensity exercise.

Dr. Abby: Dr. Agatston, as a dancer, I was thrilled to read about benefits of interval exercise and its relation to dangerous fat. Could you please clarify this?

Dr. Agatston: Yes! Since we wrote the book South Beach Diet Supercharged, the literature is just getting more and more impressive, specifically for “interval” versus “steady state” exercise.

You get definite benefits from high intensity exercise for treating metabolic syndrome and diabetes. When a period of high intensity exercise is followed by a rest period, you can do more high intensity exercise.

For instance, if you just sprint, you’re going to be out of breath and be done. However, when you do a “work cycle” followed by a “recovery cycle,” you can get more high intensity in overall, than if you just go high intensity until you’re exhausted.

Some studies, where they’ve actually done muscle biopsies, show improved insulin sensitivity when intervals include high intensity exercise. Other studies found that you lose more belly fat, and more fat in general, given the same calorie output with interval versus steady state exercise.

Intervals also recall the way our ancestors behaved; the natural way we perform. High intensity was usually done where there was work and rest, such as shoveling, picking, plowing or pushing.

Dr. Abby: I love that you recall “back to nature,” and the way that our bodies were intended to work. That’s really a bedrock of my philosophy; health at every size naturally. We should learn what our bodies are meant to do, and work with it instead of fighting it.

Dr. Agatston: Yes! Things like walking to school, and incorporating exercise into our everyday lives again is important. My primary theme today is that our bodies were designed to live in the wild. When you look at the extremely different lifestyles of today, including sitting over a computer all day and not moving, grabbing fast food, driving everywhere, and shopping on the Internet, it is the antithesis of what we were meant to be doing.

Dr. Abby: I agree! Dr. Agatston, thanks for another enlightening ...

Commentary: Start dancin’! Dancing is high intensity exercise followed by rest, and is fun, fun, fun! Of course if you’d rather plow and shovel, that’s fine too, since working outside with nature can bring solace, joy, and apparently health!

Interval exercising can be done with any activity you enjoy. It’s not about the type of exercise; it’s about the process. “Dr. Abby’s Diet Revolution” suggests living a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, rather than losing weight per se. Concentrating on the “process” insures a great outcome, instead of focusing on the outcome, which may be obtained by temporary or artificial measures.

Moving your body more naturally, and for pleasure, increases the likelihood of sticking to it. Too many of my patients begin an intense exercise regime when they’re “in the zone.” They’re dieting, exercising, getting on the scale, and completely obsessed with weight loss. After a period of time they cannot sustain the intensity, and the whole thing falls apart.

Creating a more moderate lifestyle, which includes interval exercise, might help us to win the war, instead of fighting miserable battles that we keep on losing.

A more complete version of this interview will be found in my next book, Dr. Abby’s Diet Revolution! This is a small excerpt from a rather extensive interview. To obtain a copy when it becomes available, please click here to sign up, and receive a free pdf of my current book, Your Final Diet.

NOTE: Some editorial license was used to edit Dr. Agatston’s lengthy answers to my questions. Every effort was made to preserve the integrity of content.

For more information about South Beach Diet, click here.

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Dr. Abby Aronowitz is a psychologist, speaker and coach, who completed work at Columbia University. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. Previously a consultant to Weight Watchers International, Dr. Abby has been featured on and AOL Diet and Fitness. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and Mensa.

Dr. Abby Aronowitz - Your Final Diet

1 comment:

Susan Mitchell Collin said...

Dear Dr. Abby,
I just discovered you! And you are delightful! I am going to put you on as a link to my blog:
I have just written a humorous little gift book "The Joyful Life of a Diet Dropout" (released 4/29) and there are so many similarities to your ideas! I, too was suspecting that M. Jackson's demise was related to his dysfunctional body image (weight included) but I read all your recent blogs and enjoyed all. You are a hoot! I will have to order "Your Final Diet". The feedback I am getting at book signings re: Eating Disorders is alarming. Mothers are telling me that sixth grade daughters (size 0) are purging to stay thin! Did you know that Chris Dodd is going to be having hearings in Wash.DC on Eating Disorders in the fall? May I send him your name to possibly testify?
warm regards,