The 7 Benefits To “Training Slow”
It’s easy to want to train faster and harder to reach your next level of performance. While pushing yourself to Zone 3, heart training is necessary to build threshold fitness; those energy systems are often over-trained, leading to premature peaking, injury, fatigue, poor sleep, and declining performance.
Zone 2 training occurs when we perform a steady activity at a moderate level. You are in Zone 2 when your heart rate is between 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. A person should still be able to talk while doing this type of training vs. a high-intensity exercise.
Below you’ll see 7 benefits to training for Zone 2 heart training:
- Burn fat.
At any given moment, we have 1400-2000 kcal of stored carbs and 50,000-80,000 kcal of stored fat. The calories you burn from steady-state cardio are primarily from fat, whereas Zone 3 training is from stored carbs. A successful training program, and more importantly, long-term health incorporates Zone 2 training.
- Improve insulin resistance.
Metabolic syndrome is the inability to use fat as a fuel source. When you can burn fat effectively, you avoid other significant health-related concerns, like Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, immune dysfunction, and dementia.
- Increase mitochondria and metabolic efficiency.
Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. They are responsible for converting fuel into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Through the use of fuel, they create energy that makes the body go through a process called oxidative phosphorization.
Steady-state training increases the number of mitochondria and improves metabolic efficiency. The mitochondria utilize glucose, fat, and lactate in a well-trained system. When the cells are not trained, the mitochondria prefer glucose. The efficiency of the mitochondria becomes severely limited.
- Increase metabolic flexibility
When you increase your number of mitochondria, you increase your metabolic flexibility, meaning your body can switch fuels from carbs to fats easily and efficiently. If you have metabolic flexibility, you can burn carbs when you eat carbs, and you can burn fat when you eat fat or burn fat if you don’t eat anything at all.
- Lower risk of injury
Steady-state running builds resilience to the tissues. The slow build of time or mileage at this pace is a safer build model and prevents repetitive load injuries.
- Lower resting heart rate
A high resting heart rate means your heart works extra hard to pump blood. On the flip side, a lower resting heart rate is better when it comes to your health. It’s a sign your heart is working well. Zone 2 training effectively builds a healthy heart that pumps more blood with each contraction and easily keeps a regular beat when it’s lower.
- Lower blood pressure
If a person has high blood pressure, effective steady-state heart training can aid in decreasing their blood pressure to keep it controlled.
If you are interested in creating a sustainable training plan that incorporates Zone 2 heart training benefits, schedule a call with us today. We’ll begin by looking at all factors contributing to your health and customize a plan to optimize your longevity and performance.