Exercise! - Cardio: Intensity vs. Duration

View Full Version : Cardio: Intensity vs. Duration

09-10-2010, 12:12 PM
Hi, everyone, peeking in here with a quick q. I drag my family on a "little" walk around our neighborhood each night. I put the toddler in the stroller and my DD1, SO and I take turns pushing it. We are by no means jogging or fast walking, but I'm so out of shape that it really speeds up my heart rate, makes me sweat, and I have enough breath to talk, but just barely. We are usually gone just under an hour.

Clocked our "little" walk with my car, and we are making a 2 mile round trip every night! :D

Anyway, if I were alone, I could speed-walk and do the distance in much less time. But, I want my family to benefit from some daily exercise.

Am I wasting my time? Is one hour of so/so exercise worse than 30 minutes of vigorous exercise?


09-10-2010, 12:23 PM
Absolutly! When I first started I would do 30-60 mins of walking. I don't know how fast I was going. IMO any exercise is better than nothing and incorporating your family into it is fantastic! Exercise has changed for me now and duration and intensity work a little differently for me. But in the beginning anything you can do is fabulous. You can always modify if necessary. My slow walks turned into jogs and have now become 3-6 mile runs that I look forward to 4xs/wk. It's my time for me and keeps my stress levels in check.

And BTW, if I'm not mistaken 60 mins of so/so exercise = 30 mins of more intense exercise. So if I ran for 30 mins I would need to walk for 60 mins to burn the same cals, give or take.

09-10-2010, 01:25 PM
I don't think your waisting time at all. Any exercise is good for you and more importantly you are getting your family out there too. It's good for them and you!
Is there another time of day you can get some more cardio in. I think if you are worried about it try adding more exercise at a different time, but don't stop the walks. --in my opinion-- :-)

09-10-2010, 01:34 PM
Wasting time? No way!! You're not on the couch, right? :D That's how I look at it. All exercise does not have to be intense.

Now, for me personally, higher intensity seems to do better things for my heart with regards to BP and resting HR. I definitely get my intensity up several times a week. But I also throw in what I consider "extra" activities, and walking, no matter the speed, is excellent.

09-10-2010, 02:27 PM
I agree with everyone else, anything that makes you get up and move is good. Is walking the best? That depends on your goals, what kind of shape you're in and where ya wanna go with your physical fitness. Walking is a great stepping off point for many things (yeah, yeah... bad pun).

A 20 minute per mile pace is considered 'moderate' walking (3mph), anything less is pretty slow and unless you are just horribly out of shape probably isn't gonna do a whole lot for you as far as really improving your fitness. I mean, realistically ya gotta feel a little burn to be improving!! Walking is great low impact exercise and if you walk fast enough you can and will see cardiovascular improvement. What I've found is that my body rapidly adapts to walking to the point that I simply can't walk fast enough (nor do I have time to walk far enough) to REALLY get a work out. I can do a 3 mile walk at a 3.5 mph pace and feel a little breathless while holding a conversation, but it's not a workout. I don't feel it after wards. Ya know what I mean? If you feel your walks when you are done, feel like you've worked out and are working hard then you are where you need to be right now. If not, it's time to bump it up. Assuming you want to keep increasing your fitness level.

I love walking with my husband. He's 6'4" and I'm 5'4", his brisk stride has me almost at a jog! Darn long legged advantage! Don't stop walking with your family, I love getting my family out and moving. That said, my walks are my recovery time.... I jog, interval train, etc. to get in the hard work my body needs to make progress and I LOVE it.


09-10-2010, 03:42 PM
Thanks, everyone! This is the best/most I can do right now, given my situation. When I first started it was just around the block and I felt like dying. Now I've worked myself (us, really) up to this pace/distance. When it becomes more like a Sunday stroll instead of the sweaty, muscles burning walk I'm feeling now, I'll have to up my intensity in other ways. I can utilize my lunch break, do some videos in the morning, etc. I really want my DD1 to get more fit along with me, so I'll keep an eye out for something both of us could transition into. I just don't see myself jogging or *gasp* running until I'm much much smaller than I am now.

09-19-2010, 11:03 AM

I've faced a very similar problem. When I'm on my own, my workouts are pretty intense (this is after about 3 months of really, really trying!) However, on weekend evenings, I try to have a walk with my family. Like you, these are generally 1 hour in length and approx 4km.

From a pure workout perspective, I used to worry about sacrifciing 2 days in the gym (the 2 days of the week where I actually have the time to be there)... but am always happy because it means that my husband is getting out too, and we all have fun together.

What I've started doing is picking "points" along our route of where we up the intensity. For example, every time we get to the tree outside the really big house, 60-seconds of squats. When we pass the bench in the park, 60-seconds of dips. At that fire hydrant, 60-seconds of jumping jacks. These kinds of things are nice because they are as intense as you want them to be. For me, they increase the burn.

To be honest, I don't know how effective/how big of a difference this makes. But it gives me peace of mind!

On a totally other note - GOOD FOR YOU!!! I do not have kids, but one of my main reasons for doing this in the first place is to have an established "healthy lifestyle" for them to be born into.

09-20-2010, 02:41 PM
Thanks Avie! I'm glad you're getting the hubs involved, too. And I'm glad you bumped this thread, because I've been meaning to update it.

A friend at work introduced me to a park that's very near my house (about a 5 minute drive) that has a walking track. The park is very well-lit, there are always people there playing soccer, baseball, riding around the BMX jumps, etc. Now I don't have to worry about walking with my kids around our neighborhood in the dark with roaming dogs and scary drivers.

It's a half mile track, we walk from 7 to 8 pm, and my SO can take the baby to the playground when she gets "strollered out" so DD and I can up our speed. Since I was up to 2 miles a night at home, started 2 miles a night on the track. Bumped it up to 3 miles a night still in that one hour, and Friday and Saturday my friend and I walked 4 miles both nights (in about an hour and 15 minutes) so go us!

It was too much, however, and I'm really feeling sore so back down to 2 miles last night. I'm trying to aim for 2 mile walks alternating with 3 mile walks and maybe one 4 mile walk each week. I'm developing HUGE thigh muscles, and my calves are getting bigger (NOT the direction I intended them to go) and I think in a month or so I'll be ready for some jogging!

I'm really proud of my progress thus far, and that I've managed to stick with it and not come up with some lame excuse about why we can't go tonight. :carrot: