If you are new to exercise, I think you will find the following information extremely helpful. Recent studies have demonstrated that the “negative” or “eccentric” movement of an exercise, offers the most beneficial changes to both the muscles being exercised and your overall blood chemistry. Further, it has been suggested that even doing as little as one 30 minute session per week will make favorable changes in your overall health.
So what exactly is a “negative” or “eccentric” movement? Any activity requires both a concentric and an eccentric component. The concentric component is the phase whereby the muscle is shortening while performing the activity. An example would be curling a dumbbell. The eccentric phase of the movement would be the phase of movement whereby the muscle is lengthening while still under load. Using the same example, this would be the lowering of the dumbbell after curling it. So what does this mean and how can you exploit this information to improve your health? Well, it means that something as simple as walking down steps, or down a hill, (yes, the easier half!) can be very beneficial with respect to changing your health. If you are already exercising regularly, you can get more bang for the time expenditure by accentuating the eccentric phase of all of your exercise movements by performing the concentric phase over 1-2 seconds, the eccentric phase for 3-4 seconds. For example if you are doing a pushup you should lower yourself to the floor slowly, 3-4 seconds. Push up in 1-2 seconds. This technique can be applied to most any workout routine.
Studies have shown that exercising in this way actually causes the most desirable changes on blood chemistry in reversing deleterious changes such as all of those associated with the metabolic syndrome, (obesity, hypertension, type II diabetes, etc.).
If you are not already exercising, try and formulate a 30 minute session once per week to perform eccentric activities such as walking down steps or any activity accentuating the eccentric phase. Naturally it would be better to perform an exercise session at least three times per week, but if you are currently doing nothing, once per week is a major improvement and will evoke desirable changes in your overall health. As your health improves you will find it easier to invest more time in additional exercise sessions. There is no one who cannot find thirty minutes per week to exercise.