A very interesting study just appeared showing how blood vessel function is improved after a single session of resistance-based interval training. This doesn’t mean that only one session is needed to see lasting improvement, but may be encouraging to those initiating an exercise program that every session is improving cardiovascular function. It’s not something that you have to wait for, your body is healing!
Resistance-based interval training is an exercise method which uses weights, or bands (anything which puts resistance on the muscle – even swimming) in 1-2 minute intervals with rests in between. The idea is to push your body fairly strenuously for a brief period of time, then rest for a time and repeat. Usually, the rest periods are just long enough to regain the ability to perform the next interval.
Resistance training does a lot more for your health than strengthen muscle and burn fat. By increasing the oxygen needs of your muscle all sorts of positive things happen including increased blood perfusion to the brain, increased fat breakdown, increased blood vessel dilation (which lowers blood pressure over time) and increased metabolism. This later point, increased metabolism, is extremely important for anyone who is attempting to lose weight, because an increased metabolism helps utilize more calories, so the body begins breaking down fat faster. If calorie intake stays the same, an increased metabolic rate will ensure fat breakdown.
It is estimated that the metabolism is increased upwards of 14 hours post-workout, which means two things. One, that the benefits of exercise are maintained after the exercise ends; that the body is being trained to operate differently due to the physical exertion. And two, that in order to maintain these benefits, daily exercise is needed, because if the original metabolic set point before exercise is low, after the 14-hour window, it will likely fall again. Over time this set point will become higher and higher as the body becomes accustomed to more routine exercise.
Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.