If you want to be healthy you have to unseat your seat and get some exercise. We all know it, but that doesn’t mean we do it. Whether it’s because we’re too busy or we just don’t “like it,” one thing’s for sure, far too many of us aren’t exercising enough.
But what if I were to tell you that you can get more out of your exercise, but with zero extra effort? Or perhaps that some of the things that you thought were true about working out, may not in fact be true at all?
These 4 shocking research-backed exercise secrets might turn the way you feel about working out around forever.
1. Exercising during the day gives you a better workout:
For years a debate has raged on about whether it’s better to exercise during the day, at night or if it even mattered at all. Now new animal research may be finally putting this old fight to bed.
When researchers monitored the muscle tissue and muscle fiber of mice, they found the rodent’s exercise efforts produced the best results at night time. Since mice are nocturnal night owls, staying up all night and sleeping during the daytime, they are on the opposite circadian clock from ours. Which means that we will likely have our best exercise results during the day.1
While more research is needed, if you’re having trouble deciding on a workout time, go ahead and schedule your exercise for the daytime for a chance to reap the most benefits without putting in any extra effort.
2. You don’t have to work out for hours to get real benefits:
One thing that often keeps people from exercising regularly is that they feel intimidated by the idea of starting a complicated exercise routine that takes up hours and hours of their time every week. If that sounds familiar to you, I’ve got good news.
You don’t need to spend hours at the gym to reap real world returns on your exercise efforts. In fact, research finds that folks who dedicate as little as 15 minutes a day to exercise have a 14 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, than folks who skip out on exercising altogether.2 That could add literally years to your life expectancy.
Recent research done at the University of Montreal confirms those findings. According to scientists even low levels of casual exercise can be enough to reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, according to the researchers exercise levels that are even 20 percent below the average, can be enough to prevent heart disease.3 In other words, you don’t have to be a gym rat to get real rewards from moving some every day.
But don’t let that stop you from getting even more movement. Just 15 extra minutes of exercise a day beyond that first 15 could drop your death risk by another four percent.2
3. Listening to music can make your workout easier and more effective:
Simply strapping up some headphones, or cranking up the tunes, the next time you go for a walk, or hit the treadmill, could improve your performance by as much as 15 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.4 When exercisers on a treadmill walked in time to music, they reported feeling 15 percent more energetic. Not only that, they didn’t feel like quitting as soon as they crowd that was slogging through their workout without any music to keep them company. And in another study, athletes running on a treadmill increased their time to exhaustion by up to an incredible 19.7 percent when listening to music.5 Listening to music can make you feel like you aren’t making as much of an effort and help you feel less fatigued so you can effortlessly exercise longer.6
4. Developing a taste for dark chocolate could improve your workouts by 50 percent:
Studies have found that the flavanol epicatechin, found in abundance in dark chocolate, can significantly improve exercise endurance. Epicatchchin increases nitric oxide in the body, which in turn increases our endurance and strength. When mice were given epicatchchin and put through a two week series of treadmill tests, researchers reported both structural and metabolic improvements in muscles that led to better endurance.7
And a recent Kingston University study in London concluded it can do the same for human exercisers too. When a group of cyclists replaced one of their daily snacks with 40 grams of flavanol-rich dark chocolate for two weeks, they were found to use less oxygen and cover more distance in cycling tests.8