What can lions teach us about Ab workouts? Do the best Ab workouts for men and women involve laying in the shade all day? Maybe not, but when the effort is needed, a lion will suddenly leap into action in all its majestic glory, without worrying about having a heart attack. If you were to ask a lion about cardio workouts, it probably will give you a blank stare, but if you were to ask about it’s abs, now that’s a different story.
Why is cardio promoted so much in human society? Doctors recommend it, even The Mayo Clinic has guidelines regarding cardio that say we need to maintain constant activity to raise our heart rate above a certain level and keep it there for a determined period of time, if we want to have a healthy cardiovascular system. Walk into most gyms and you will see rows and rows of people on the cardio machines, whether they be running, cycling or rowing. But most people that have been sticking to a constant training routine for long periods will tell you that eventually you will plateau out, and your progress can even revert. But the most important point is that humans are just not designed for this type of constant, unvarying activity.
Take nature for instance. No wild animal ever goes for a jog. The most an animal does is walk from one spot to the next, with the occasional sprint at top speed thrown in. Their body is designed for “fight or flight” type movements to facilitate survival. They are not designed to maintain a steady pace for extended periods of time. If you were to watch tiger cubs play with each other, they will exert high levels of energy as they chase and tackle each other, but with regular rest periods. And I am yet to meet a wild animal that is out of shape.
We may be human, but we are no different than the animals in basic design. However, our lifestyle can create long periods (years) of inactivity, and then when we want to get into shape, we take the advise of the health system and embark on our cardio journey to become fit. However, there are facts about the effects of excessive steady state endurance (cardio workouts) that the doctors are not telling us. Scientifically it is acknowledged that these workouts increase the production of free radicals in our body. Free radicals increase the risk of developing many types of cancers, prostate and breast cancer being among these. Excessive prolonged activity will also degenerate your joints, cause muscle waste. This type of activity will also reduce your immune function.
Or you can choose to do highly variable cyclic training (quick sessions of exertion, followed by rest periods). It is found that this type of training will create a more efficient nitric oxide response, which equates to a healthier cardiovascular system. Other benefits are an increase in the production of anti oxidants, as well as an increase in the metabolic rate, which is necessary if you want to lose weight. Another big benefit is that you are training your heart to respond to and recover quickly from many levels, instead of a constant rate, as in a cardio workout. Therefore it should not fail you when you need it. Then there is the visual factor. Do you want to resemble the pallid, starved look of the marathon runner, or the powerful physique of the sprinter?
So, what does that leave us with? Long tedious hours on a treadmill that have little real benefits, or routines that would incorporate the best ab workouts for men and women, that have so many other benefits? We may be the most advanced race, but then it comes to healthy, lean bodies, our animal friends are leaps and bounds ahead.