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🚲Your best workout is also your easiest

“Have fun in your workouts. They should be enjoyable and invigorating.” - Dr. Philip Maffetone Last week, among the articles I shared was the story of Jo Schoonbroodt, the 71-year-old marathon runner who also gave us this quote of the week.

Today's 5-Minute Recharge is all about how you can apply Jo’s approach to fitness and get tremendous health benefits with relatively little effort. ⚠️ Of course there’s a catch. It’s going to take some time. But I hope I can convince you that it’s well worth it. 💡The big idea: Zone 2 exercise — a low level of physical intensity that feels relatively easy — has huge health benefits. What is zone 2? Zone 2 is a level of exercise intensity that’s just one step above walking down the street. There are a number of complex ways to determine where your zone 2 is, but the "talking test" is easy and surprisingly accurate. If you can carry on a conversation but sound a little “breathy,” you’re probably in zone 2. If you’re mathematically inclined and in good health, 180 - your age will give you your target heart rate for zone 2. We’re talking super easy folks. So easy that most people skip right over zone 2 into zones 3, 4, 5, or even into the lung-bursting zone 6. Why is Zone 2 so good for you? It all boils down to your mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells also known as the epicenters of health. While you're happily cruising in zone 2, your mitochondria are working extremely hard burning fat to make fuel for your muscles. Over time, zone 2 workouts make your mitochondria fitter and more fuel efficient. Plus, you'll need to make more mitochondria to handle the energy requirements of zone 2. These shiny new mitochondria will make you even healthier. Why is training your mitochondria so important? Besides being linked to a number of horrific diseases such as dementia, cancer, and type-2 diabetes, the deterioration of mitochondrial function is one of the hallmarks of aging. I joke that I exercise to trick my body into thinking it’s younger than it is. Zone 2 is where that magic actually happens. So to recap, when you exercise in zone 2, your body gets better at using fat for fuel, and the inefficient use of fat has been linked to diabetes, dementia, and cancer. But wait there's more! Exercise in zone 2 will improve your cardiovascular fitness, especially if you combine zone 2 with one or two sessions of high intensity training. And it feels really really good. About a hour into a zone 2 workout, a strange kind of euphoria overcomes me and I start singing along to my music. Add mood-boosting effects to the myriad benefits of zone 2. Yes, but…getting and staying in zone 2 can be a challenge. If you jog, you’ll likely go too fast and spill over into zone 3 or zone 4. If you stop to walk, you’ll soon be back in zone 1. Therefore, the best route to zone 2 is on a stationary bike. Why bike? You can adjust the tension on a stationary bike so that you get and stay precisely in zone 2. And most importantly, stationary bikes are great places to multi-task. You can pedal while you watch tv, answer emails, listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts, or talk breathily on the phone. A used stationary bike will cost you far less than a gym membership. I got my bike on sale at Canadian Tire. It has a comfy seat. I love it! Your big takeaways: Try to spend at least 45 consecutive minutes per session in zone 2 — you need a certain minimal length of time to get into a steady zone 2 state — working up to 180 minutes total per week. Yes, ideally you want to spend 3 hours each week in zone 2. But remember: it’s easy and you can multi-task or multi-play while you do it. Get charged up on how zone 2 is your mitochondria’s best friend with this terrific Art of Manliness article. Or if you’re a visual learner and want to geek out on measuring your lactate levels, watch this Q&A video from Peter Attia, M.D. 🚨 Get a Quick Charge out of these articles that will give your wellbeing a boost: 🧠 Ideas to help keep your brain young from Dr. Tommy Wood and the Feel Better Live More podcast. 🎸 Why Bruce Springsteen forgot the opening lines to his most famous song, and what it tells us about memory. ‼ Urgency doesn't exist. 🏆 Kindness can make you successful. 😊 The Opposite of Schadenfreude Is Freudenfreude. Here’s How to Cultivate It. The Recharge Quote of the Week is some psychology experiment humor that happens to be true, one of 52 things Tom Whitwell learned this year.

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