Finding the Perfect (Workout) Match

November 12, 2012 Comments Off

Want to get moving, but don’t know how to start, where to go, or even what to do? Ward off weight gain and boost your overall health and well-being by beginning a workout routine that’s right for you.

Forget all those tried-and-true workouts you think you know. Some aren’t so true and shouldn’t be tried according to physicians, trainers, and physiologists. We’ve taken the workout guesswork out for you. Sayonara sit-ups, there’s a new sweat sheriff in town (and you don’t even need to join a gym if you don’t want to).

Cardio
Get your heart pumping, your pulse racing, your sweat running, and your weight dropping with these cardio-focused activities.

Treadmills are always an option, as is running or walking outdoors. You set the pace. You choose when to stop. A benefit of using a treadmill is that you can multitask by watching the news or the latest episode of your favorite TV program. The downside? Repetition may get boring, which can lead to skipping a day,then two days, and then quitting altogether.

To keep interested, try spinning, which is bicycle riding to the beat of someone else’s drum. A “teacher” (try drill sergeant) sets the pace and, in some circles, points out when you’ve fallen behind the group. Go miles without leaving the room. Just wait until you’re asked to bounce up and down while continuing to pedal.

Then there’s Zumba, which has you sweating to not-so-oldie dance music. It’s tough to look like a fool when you’re busy staying in step. Latin music not your thing? Try hip hop, salsa, line, and even ballroom for dancing the pounds away.

Weights
Leave the dumbbells on the floor and skip the machines. Instead, try exercises that turn your bodyweight into resistance. Bodyweight training benefits include doing it anywhere and for free, improving range of motion and strength, and being fairly unlimited in what you can do.

Some suggestions: push-ups, squats (if done against a wall to keep your back and spine straight) and pull-ups.

Don’t think you’ll stick to a routine if no one is holding you accountable? Maybe it’s time to put that gym membership to use. Most gyms have pre-made routines. Start there and modify to fit your needs. The key to staying on track is mixing up your routine. Repetition is only as good as the workout you pick.

Yoga
Everyone seems to be doing it, so why aren’t you? Some classes prioritize relaxation and meditation, while others focus on cardio or weight training.

Yoga can help increase flexibility, agility, balance, and concentration which are benefits most other workouts can’t claim. (It can also treat common ailments.) Yoga can also help increase strength with several poses tied to resisting gravity (try to plank for five minutes and see how sore your arms feel).

Looking for an aerobic exercise? Look elsewhere. You’ll probably break a sweat, but not in the same way a half hour on a treadmill can bring on.

This brings us back full circle. The key to sticking to a workout regimen is finding a routine that works for you. Try several things. Talk to your friends. Listen to your body. Gain without pain. That’s the ticket.

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