The PACE Exercise program is one of the many available weight loss/healthy lifestyle programs which address people's need for incorporating exercise into their lives. The health benefits of exercise are undeniable. The PACE program is one way to achieve them.
What Is the PACE Exercise Program?
The PACE program, or Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion plan, uses the human body's physiology to help burn calories and accelerate fat loss. The program focuses on some of the common barriers to exercise to help you find a way to stick with your fitness goals.
Basically, the program is a type of interval training. It does not, however, involve long exercise sessions. Sessions can be as short as 12 minutes with periods of intense exercise, such as using an exercise bike followed by intervals of rest. This feature addresses two obstacles, boredom and time constraints. Certainly, it can be difficult to justify why 12 minutes is too much time to devote to exercise.
The program also encourages better physical fitness by gradually increasing the intensity of workouts. Not exercising hard enough is a common failing of many exercise programs. The fact remains that exercise is not meant to be easy. It can be fun, but it should not back off from challenging the body to increase its efficiency.
Benefits of the Program
The program makes several health claims which may make you skeptical or perhaps intrigue you. It claims to burn more fat than regular aerobics exercise, even while you rest. It will build strength in your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The founder, Dr. Al Sears, explains that the program will help you avoid heart attacks and heart disease.
The program is well laid-out, with plenty of support materials, including video demonstrations, workouts and a body composition calendar. For those wanting this type of guidance, you may enjoy following this progam.
Dissecting the Claims
In terms of respiratory and cardiovascular benefits, there may be some truth to the claims. Cardio workouts over time will increase the efficiency of these systems as your body adapts to providing more oxygen, more quickly to your cells. This effect occurs with any time of regular, aerobic workouts.
The program also claims to build muscle mass and bone strength. Again, any weight-bearing activity will have this effect. The key is to keep challenging your body.
There is some evidence to support the interval training incorporated by the PACE Exercise Program. A 2009 study in the Journal of Physiology (587: 5527-5539) explains that the human body thrives on stress, citing the fact that it evolved under these conditions. This is a similar argument which Dr. Sears uses to support his program, claiming that human genetics reflects earlier days when responding to stress was a matter of life and death.
The 2009 study also points out that inactivity can have pathophysiological effects. These effects are the result of disease or physiologic disturbances, such as a lack of stress. While not seeking to justify the program, this study makes a strong case for the benefits of the PACE program.
The PACE program aims to reach sedentary adults. The combination of a history of inactivity and intense exercise warrant some concern. The University of Maryland Medical Center cautions that if you are over 40 and have been inactive, you should see your doctor before beginning an exercise program. You should also take this precautionary step if you have a pre-existing health condition, such as high blood pressure.
Time for Exercise
One question you may have is how much time the program requires. The PACE program claims 12 minutes of exercise is sufficient. A 2010 study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice (64(13): 1731-1734) recommends that you can realize the benefits of exercise if you devote five sessions of 30 minutes of moderately-intense exercise each week.
You can also achieve similar health benefits with three sessions of 20 minutes of vigorous exercise. It would appear that as long as you spend adequate time with it, you may benefit from the program.
The PACE Exercise Program offers another way to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. It looks at ways to overcome the most common excuses for failing to exercise. As long as you are healthy and able to exercise vigorously, the PACE program may be right for you.