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Round Out Your Workout

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Round Out Your Workout

When you workout regularly, it is easy to fall into a routine of doing the same exercises every time you hit the gym. If you do the same exercises every time you work out, your fitness level will quickly plateau and the muscles in your body will adapt to those exercises, making your workout less efficient and less beneficial.

For the most beneficial, efficient workout, variety is the key. If you add diversity into your workout routine, your muscles won’t adapt like they would if you did the same thing over and over.

Cooper Fitness Center Director of Fitness and Professional Fitness Trainer, Mary Edwards, breaks down the key elements of an efficient workout and explains the benefits of each.

Cardio: The continuum of cardiovascular exercise ranges from anaerobic to aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise (high intensity activities) increases your need for oxygen while anaerobic exercise (lower intensity activities) builds muscle through tension. For the most effective and efficient workout, it’s important to maintain the whole continuum from low intensity exercise to high intensity exercise. With that said, any form of cardio exercise is purposeful and can be beneficial for lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, improving heart health and helping you achieve your weight loss goals.

Research shows that exercising for just 30 minutes at least six days a week will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 50 percent. That alone should be motivation alone to get off the couch and start moving. Purposefully engage in some sort of cardio exercise, whether walking, bike riding, swimming or running and you’ll see the health benefits of cardio exercise. It doesn’t always have to be a high intensity workout; it simply needs to be 30 minutes of continuous, purposeful movement.

Strength: As we approach the third decade of life and beyond, our bodies begin to lose about one percent of muscle mass per year. Metabolism declines and we may even begin to lose functionality, such as the ability to get up and down easily, or perform push and pull motions. This is the result of naturally declining strength with age and a busy life. Because strength declines with age, it’s critical to incorporate regular strength training in your fitness routine.

Strength training includes a wide range of activities from body weight exercises, such as pushups, burpees and squats, to weight lifting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of diseases and chronic conditions such as: arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain and even depression. Strength training has maximum impact when combined with cardiovascular exercise.

Stretching: Flexibility is another thing that decreases with age. The older we get, the more muscle, tendon and ligament elasticity begins to decline. When muscles, tendons and ligaments lose their elasticity and begin to tighten, it affects range of motion and can eventually affect everyday movements, from walking to bending. Regular stretching will improve athletic performance but it will also improve stability and decrease your risk of injury.

Professional Fitness Trainers at Cooper Fitness Center incorporate all of these factors into a client’s workout regimen. The client’s specific needs will determine exactly how each of the key elements of fitness will be addressed. For example, if a trainer only sees a client once a week, they may work on strength during a training session and assign cardio and stretching exercises for the client to do at home.

Though each of our trainers has the freedom to adapt a client’s workout as needed, in general, our trainers always begin the workout with dynamic range of motion or corrective mobility and flexibility exercises, followed by activation exercises (movements that get muscle groups firing). Depending on the client, we may incorporate a variety of power exercises into the bulk of their workout. At the end of the training session, the trainer will incorporate interval training or mobility work, power, strength and core exercises, finally transitioning to a cool down process.

If you are able to incorporate each of these essential elements into one workout, your workout will be extremely efficient, which is key for people with busy schedules. However, each of these elements can also be addressed individually as well. What is most important is that you keep your workout routine diverse to maintain effectiveness and prevent boredom and loss of motivation.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.