I haven't been particularly athletic for well over a decade now, but I'd like to get back to it. In the past year or so I have read (ok, skimmed) various posts in the Paleo blogosphere about the problems of "chronic cardio" and the superiority of short intense exercises, but I'm not at all confident that I understand the issues. So, for those who have looked into this more deeply, would something like the Couch to 5K program - in which one ends up running for about 30 minutes at a stretch - be getting into chronic cardio territory? I'm not really going for ultra-marathon types of fitness here; 5k seems like more than enough distance to be able to cover at any one time. Is this level of cardio "safe"? And why would greater intensity be more effective at achieving it? Thanks.
asked byrook (851)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on January 03, 2011
at 05:20 PM
I've recommended C25K to lots of people that need to be eased into a new state of fitness. If you haven't been active at all, it really helps to have such a specific program outlined.
Once you are comfortable moving your body, adding in interval or strength training once a twice a week will be key to continuing your progress.
on January 03, 2011
at 05:14 PM
Seems ok to me. Looks like 3-4 days a week, 25-30 minutes of running at most, and only toward the end of the ten weeks.
For the purposes of developing general fitness in an untrained individual, I think this program is vastly inferior to basic strength training + brief and occasional conditioning, but hey, I guess people have different goals.
Something like the C25K program is useful for making people feel like they accomplished something they felt they couldn't do (which is very valuable).* Strength training + occasional conditioning is more useful for long-term health and quality of life improvements (IMO).
You could do worse than C25K. You could do a lot better.
To end the editorializing and to answer your actual question, I wouldn't worry about this being chronic cardio. It lasts 10 weeks and has you running for relatively brief periods, coupled with built-in walking intervals. The question is, what are you going to do AFTER you finish the C25K program? =)
*Just want to make clear: if you choose to do C25K, I think this is a VERY valid reason to do it. The psychological/emotional aspects of a training program are important, and often overlooked.