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Friday, June 3, 2011

Stay Strong, Stay Fit

As part of Fitness Friday, I thought I'd talk about what it takes to stay strong. As a personal trainer, I know the benefits of keeping my body and mind in optimum condition. I'm not perfect by any means, but when I'm consistent with exercise, I'm a better writer, and a happier person. So here's how it works.

Resistance Training
To build strong bones and muscles, you should do strength training on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym three times a week or lift weights. You can get all the benefits of strengthening your body by using your own weight as resistance. Plank work, stabilization exercises with a physioball, and your typical lunge and squat routine will tone your muscles and make you feel strong and fit.

If you aren’t into aerobics and don’t enjoy sweating to the oldies, maybe you should try something more functional. Find an activity you enjoy and kick it up a notch. Walk briskly, bike for an hour a few times a week or join a water aerobics class or swim program. Cardiovascular conditioning requires getting your heart rate up and keeping it up for at least a half hour 3-5 days a week. So get moving but do something you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.

Functional Strength
Resistance training and aerobic conditioning are great, but don’t forget about balance and agility. I’d rather be able to make it up three flights of stairs with my groceries than bench press a car. That means, I need to practice good body mechanics, balancing exercises and agility drills. Jumping rope, taking a Zumba class, or learning Tai Chi can be great for improving your functional strength, so let’s put the ‘fun’ back in functional and try something new.

What are you doing to stay strong?

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