The World Health Organisation (WHO) classes obesity as one of the highest risk factors to health across society . Physical activity has been identified as a key component to combatting obesity, reports state that at least 30 minutes of regular exercise on most days is required . Nutrition has also been identified as a key area which desperately needs higher standards of education and opportunity for learning.
Physical activity is a broad topic, ranging from but not limited to various resistance training systems, cardiovascular protocols or even just taking the dog for a walk. For me, physical activity is a lifestyle choice; choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the shops instead of driving. Exercise makes up part of a healthy lifestyle and this article will invite you to try a protocol for aerobic conditioning.
You don’t have to be experienced in exercise to give this a go, there will be alterations towards the end of this article which should provide you with enough information to adapt this protocol for your own training, no matter what level you perceive yourself to be at.
- Pick a piece of cardiovascular equipment, I.E a stationary bike.
- Pick a level of intensity that you could maintain for 45 minutes or more. This will be you baseline/recovery level.
- Cycle at your baseline for 5 minutes.
- After the initial 5 minutes you will increase the level by 1 every minute for 5 minutes. This is 1 round. Each round will last 10 minutes.
- If you start on level 3, you will end up at level 8 at the end of the 10 minute round.
- After the end of the first round you will drop back down to your baseline level and repeat steps 2-4.
- Aim to complete at least 3 rounds (30 minutes).
A visual representation of a single round can be found below;
Progressions and Regressions
If it sounds like a little bit too much to begin with, try using the same protocol, however, use 3 minute work periods instead, resulting in a 6 minute round and gradually build up to the 5 minute protocol.
If you feel that it will be a little too easy for you, try shifting the work:rest ratio around a bit, I.E 4 minutes at a baseline and 6 minutes at a gradually increasing intensity. You could also try setting a minimum revolutions per minute (RPM) for yourself so that you maintain a particular intensity throughout the session.
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 Reducing Risks to Health, Promoting Healthy Life. (2002). JAMA, 288(16), p.1974.
 Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. (2011). 1st ed. [ebook] World Health Organisation. Available at: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/physical-activity-recommendations-18-64years.pdf?ua=1 [Accessed 4 Jan. 2016].