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My problem: For aerobic exercise, my target heart rate is 120. I aim to exercise at that level for say 30 minutes per day.

Now, if I "walk as hard as possible" I only get to about 100, 105.

Unfortunately I'm just too old, fat, and my knees are too weak, for now, to actually jog or run.

Solution: very fortunately there's a perfect hill near me: at a strong walk, it produces 120 bpm. Fantastic. I am so lucky about that hill!

Problem: from the bottom to the top, it's about 13, 14 minutes.

Now, I amble down the hill in around 6-7 minutes, with my heartrate down to perhaps 100, 105.

So as you can see, my regime there is along the lines:

at 120: 13 minutes
at 100: 7 minutes
at 120: 13 minutes
at 100: 7 minutes
at 120: 13 minutes
at 100: 7 minutes

(either two or three "laps" thereof).

So, I certainly get a wonderful 20 or 30 mins at 120 bpm -- BUT interrupted by easy-going doddles at around 100/105.

My question, does sport science have anything to say about this? Am I completely wasting my time, is there no beneficial effect from "10, 10, 10" minutes (with pleasant pauses in between) compared to 30 minutes?

I'm sure you understand me --- What do you experts think? That's the question in a nutshell. Thanks!!!!!!!!!

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If your knees are bad, walking downhill with weak legs may harm them more than running would! Try to take a zig-zag path down the hill to share the load with other muscle and ligament groups, and avoid planting hard on your heels at all costs. –  Kevin Vermeer Jun 23 '11 at 19:38
    
@Kevin ... for sure Kevin, to be clear I just go VERY EASY down the hill. Like a granny! :-) (That being said, as you build strength the temptation is to sprint down the hill like when you're a kid!) Thank you very much for your message. –  Joe Blow Jun 23 '11 at 19:48
    
If you have access to a pool, deep water running is a GREAT! way to get your heart rate up without the pounding on your body. –  Ryan Miller Oct 6 '11 at 19:10
    
Keep doing what you are doing! –  Ryan Miller Oct 6 '11 at 19:10
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1 Answer

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Sounds like you are doing great; and no, you are certainly not wasting your time.

The new physical activity guidelines according to the cdc say that you can break up your exercise into 10 minute workouts and still get the health benefits as long as you are getting at least 150 minutes (2.5 hrs.) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as brisk walking. Once you are comfortable with the baseline of 2.5 hours per week, the new guidelines recognize greater health benefits with increasing your activity to 5 hours per week.

The guidelines also include strength training (body weight exercises, resistance bands or weights) at least 2 times per week.

You can cross train to give your knees a break while still getting your aerobic workout. For instance on some days you may want to do aquatic exercise, swim, cycle or use an elliptical trainer instead of your walk.

Keep up the good work!

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Dear BISB, once again - how can I thank you? I'll have to name a child "BackInShaopeBuddy"! :) So it seems to be the case that you can "chunk" - so long as the chunks are not too short, 10 mins being a guideline. It's interesting that the guideline is quite a lot of minutes - that's a solid half-hour a solid five times a week. I hear what you're saying about variety but it goes against my monotonous personality :) Thanks again! –  Joe Blow Jun 13 '11 at 6:17
    
@Joe Glad I could help. Keep us posted on your progress! –  BackInShapeBuddy Jun 13 '11 at 8:39
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