June 17, 2024

How Creative Is Your Cardio?

Fit Body:

How creative is your cardio?

To qualify as cardiovascular exercise your movement must be continuous, moving many muscle groups at once, and sustained long enough to elevate your heart rate. What does this mean? Just about anything goes! Get creative by creating your own cardio. Look no farther than your own living room, backyard, local park, community track or walking path. Where can you step up and down? What can you use to hold and squat? On what hill can you jog repeats? What provides a unique balance or agility challenge? Look at your surroundings with an eye for fitness!


Exercise Gear Matters

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Wear Proper Exercise Gear!

It’s true that often the top, most expensive, new, latest and greatest exercise gear is not urgently required for workouts. However, appropriate and proper gear is! And shoes is where most exercisers miss the mark. For example, wearing flip flops on the treadmill may not be the safest approach. (Yes, this really happens!) Or wearing jeans or work pants for an outdoor boot camp style workout will slow your fitness. (Yes, people do this!)  Ask yourself a few questions to determine proper exercise gear for your workout:

Is it outdoors or indoors? Dressing in layers, appropriate for the expected climate, which means you should be aware of forecast conditions! Outdoor workouts may also require shoes to provide traction. Sunblock, hat and sunglasses versus no need.

On what surface does the workout take place? If the workout occurs on sand, dirt or gravel trail or grass, your gear will vary. High socks versus low socks that allow pebbles into your shoes. Pants versus shorts in the event of a fall.

Is the workout high-impact, low-impact or non-impact? The mode of exercise will call for different foot and ankle support and cushion. High impact and high-intensity may require different hydration and caloric needs than to which you’re accustomed.

Does the workout require quick pick-ups, rapid change in direction or moving quickly from one exercise to the other? Shoes that support quick change in direction, but that are light-weight will be important. Wearing clothes that allow you to move easily will help.

Know what the workout entails AHEAD OF TIME. When in doubt, ask the instructor!


Summer Exercise by Sarah Johnson

As it seems we may have finally made the transition (albeit abrupt!) to summer weather, it’s now time to get outside and enjoy all of the activities we haven’t been able to all winter!

Living so close to Lake Michigan, I’m fortunate to have so many water friendly activities in which to participate. As always, you need to be a good swimmer and comfortable in the water before trying any of these out. And be sure to let someone know where you’re going! Always consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Here are a few of my summer exercise favorites by the water:

Stand Up Paddleboarding: This very popular water sport uses a paddle board (think long, flat surf board) and one single-sided paddle. While standing, or kneeling if you’re just starting out, you need to balance as you move through the water’s waves and ripples. Flat water is best for this sport, although with a little practice and Core strength, you’ll be skimming the surface in no time!

Kayaking: This is a terrific upper body workout. Sitting inside the kayak and using a double-sided paddle, you’ll propel yourself forward with long strokes. Your arms, shoulders and upper back muscles all need to work together in order to move forward. This is also a great buddy activity, if you can rent a kayak built for 2!

Sand Running: The effort that running in the sand requires is much greater than on a dry, hard surface. This is a great way to mix up your training. Choose a shorter distance, and break it up into short and longer sprints on the beach. Walk in-between the sprints so you have time to recover (if you’ve never run on sand before, you may find that it’s harder than you think!) And pack a Frisbee or small ball to reward yourself with a game of catch after the hard part is over!

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago