Here’s a fact missed by just about everyone: To maintain a healthy heart that will take you far into old age, long duration endurance training is the last thing you need. You will do much more for your heart by exercising in brief spurts. If you do it effectively, expect to spend no more than ten minutes a day.

Reserve Capacity Prevents Heart Attacks

Conventional wisdom says that your heart needs endurance training to remain healthy. Indeed, they use cardiovascular endurance, (CVE) as a synonym for heart conditioning. But is this really what your heart needs? I don’t think so.

A lack of endurance does not cause heart attacks. Heart attacks typically occur at rest or at periods of very high cardiac output. Often there is a sudden increase in demand, i.e. – when lifting a heavy object, having sex or receiving an unexpected emotional blow. The sudden demand for cardiac output exceeds the heart’s capacity to adapt. In other words, the key to heart health – and avoiding a fatal heart attack – is reserve capacity.

What you really need is faster cardiac output. By exercising for long periods, you actually induce the opposite response. When you exercise continuously for more than about 10 minutes, your heart has to become more efficient. In essence, your heart and lungs actually become smaller in order to become more efficient. You give up maximum capacity because a smaller heart and lungs can go further during endurance type exercises.

A recent Harvard study examined middle-aged men, exercise, and cardiovascular health. Researchers found that men who performed repeated short bouts of exercise reduced their risk of heart disease by 100% over those who performed long duration exercise.

So how do you increase your cardiac reserve capacity? I have worked with athletes, trainers and patients at our Wellness Research Foundation to produce, PACE (Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion). It has produced dramatic results in my cardiac patients.

PACE Yourself and Transform Your Body – In Just Minutes a Day!

The first feature of the PACE plan is progressivity. This simply means repeated changes in the same direction. Do a bit extra this week than you did last week.

Most people doing cardiovascular exercise increase the duration. That’s precisely what I want you to avoid. Gradually increase some measure of intensity instead. Begin light and gradually pick up the pace or add resistance as your capacity increases.

The second principle is acceleration. In other words, get up to speed a little faster in the next session than you did in the last. When you are out of shape, it will take several minutes to gear up your breathing and heart rates. But as you get more accustomed to the challenge, you will respond faster. As you get into better shape, you will increase the intensity in each session and increase the intensity earlier in each session.

You must do one other thing differently than the standard exercises of the past. As your conditioning increases, decrease the duration of the exercise interval. Use briefer and briefer episodes of gradually increasing intensity. Start with 20 minutes every other day. As you get into better shape, break those 20 minutes into two 10 minute intervals with 5 minutes of rest in between. After a few weeks, break those 20 minutes into four 5 minute intervals with 2 minutes of rest in between. Continue to break your exercise into shorter intervals at you own pace.

When you are well conditioned, you will be using “mini-intervals”. For instance, my intervals for biking are less than a minute followed by a minute of rest repeated for 8 intervals.

You can use any activity that will give your heart and lungs a bit of a challenge. My favorites are swimming, biking, running and elliptical machines. I switch off between them to keep it fun and lower the chance of “overuse injuries”. What you will use will depend on your level of fitness. The important thing again is that the challenge advances gradually over time.

Burn 9 Times More Fat than a Long Distance Runner

I know some of you are probably skeptical about this approach. After all, it goes completely against the standard recommendations of almost all those fitness “authorities” out there. So let me tell you about some of the additional benefits of short-duration exercise. Short bursts of exercise tell your body that you want to lose fat and maintain a strong heart, lungs, and muscles. When you do this repeatedly, you teach your body what it needs when you exercise. Essentially, you’re telling your body that storing energy as fat is inefficient, since you never exercise long enough to utilize the fat during each session.

Carbohydrates, which are stored in muscle rather than fat, burn energy at high rates. Exercising for short periods will use these carbs and burn much more fat—both during and after exercising.

Find Your Own PACE Workout

In chapter 7 of my new book, The Doctor’s Heart Cure, you’ll discover more about PACE, and how to recondition your heart and lungs. You’ll learn:

• The best exercises for functional strength.
• Choosing the exercise activity that’s right for you.
• Common sense calisthenics.
• Your 8-week plan at-a-glance.

To find out more about my book right now, click here:

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. Since the release of his latest book, The Doctor's Heart Cure, he has been interviewed on over two dozen nationally syndicated radio programs with an audience of millions.

In just three years, Dr. Sears has published over 325 articles and 3 books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging and nutritional supplementation - including a monthly subscription newsletter entitled Health Confidential for Men.

His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have transformed the lives of his patients for over 15 years.

Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.

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