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Tuesday, May 16

Mix it Up in May!

Consider adding some new moves to your weekly exercise routine.  If you’re not already weight training, begin adding some strength moves.  You can also add some new cardio exercises, such as swimming and aerobics classes.  Now that many of the New Year’s Resolution folks have left the gym, there will be more machines, smaller classes, and fewer crowds than back in January.  Try something new!

Aerobic exercise :
  • improves stamina and energy levels during the day 
  • helps you sleep soundly at night 
  • helps to manage stress
  • improves your mood
  • helps with weight maintenance
  • helps to ward off disease
But, you know, aerobics doesn't have to mean 1980's workouts in the gym.  Pick a second aerobic activity that you enjoy - anything, as long as it gets your heart pumping.  If it's convenient, you're going to be more likely to keep it up.  Personally, I pick running.  It requires minimal equipment (good shoes & socks) and can be done anywhere!

Start slow, and keep an eye on your heart rate.  You could do this with a heart monitor, but the talk test is easier and cheaper.  If you're too out of breath to speak, then you're overexerting yourself.  If you can converse without any change in breathing, you're not working hard enough.  Easy!

If you're running alone, feel free to talk to the air around you, if you want to do the talk test.  Staying motivated when you're alone, however, can be a different story.  A music player is probably your best bet...  Can't get out of the house, or just want something different?  There are dozens of dvd-directed exercise programs.  We found five of our favorite ones - all with very different styles!  Find one that you like - having fun will keep you motivated!

Finally, if you need more convincing :  due to its ability to improve body image, energy, self-esteem and overall fitness, regular exercise is linked to better sex...    While you think that over, try some wine aerobics for a moment!

Pick Your Poison!

Swimming : Getting Started...the How
  • Start with the freestyle stroke and swim for as long as you can, then rest for as much time as you need. Repeat for a minimum of 20 minutes.   Don’t get discouraged if the guy in the next lane over is cranking out laps two-at-a-time, and you’re winded after 30 seconds.  Rest.  Repeat.  Stamina will come.
  • Good stamina will come with good form.  While swimming, you want your head, hips and feet to form one long line. If your middle sags or your feet ride low, you increase drag, which slows you down and wastes energy. Try pushing your head down a bit if your feet are dragging, or do core work when on land if your midsection is slumping.
  • One common mistake that new swimmers make is to kick too much.  The kick provides little propulsion, but sucks up huge amounts of energy and sends your heart rate skyrocketing because you’re moving big muscle groups like the quads. You want to kick just enough to keep the legs ups. 
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