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Spice Up Your Aerobic Routine and Benefit!

June 29, 2012 by Marc Faktor, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Over the past decade, it’s safe to say that I have consulted thousands of individuals looking to improve their health through physical activity. Through these experiences, lots of different themes have popped up and I would like to highlight a common theme (i.e. lack of strength training) & provide some guidance.

If you’re one of those activity junkies and think that walking, running & or cycling is enough... think again!

Don’t get me wrong, the aerobic component is exceptionally important and significantly improves our health; however, the guidelines clearly stipulate the need to include strengthening exercises 2-3x/week as well as flexibility exercises throughout the week to maximize our health benefits.

In short, strength training helps build muscle, strengthen bones and supports our joints. Increased muscle helps us achieve and maintain a healthy weight by increasing our Fat Free Mass (FFM) which can improve metabolic function at rest and during exercise.

Common barriers for lack of strength training are:

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of money for gym memberships or home equipment

Last time I checked, it costs NOTHING to have a great full body workout, incorporating aerobics, flexibility, & functional movements designed to burn fat, strengthen and improve overall quality of life.

Here’s one way to do it:

1. Schedule 45-60 minutes of outdoor activity into your calendar.

2. Ensure you're wellhydrated, well nourished (have a fruit or fruit juice just prior if needed) & dressed for the elements (don't let rain get in your way!)

3. Do a 5-10 minute warm up consisting of light aerobics (e.g. light walking or biking) & stop to incorporate dynamic stretching (lowerbodyexample, upperbodyexample).

4. Start your brisk walk, jog or cycle. Do this for 3-6 min based on your fitness level.

5. Cool down and walk for 30 sec-2 min (heart rate should drop under 100 bpm) and stop at a park bench or hip or knee height ledge.

6. Spice it up and get strength training by doing 5, 10, 15, 25 or 50 of the following exercises based on your fitness level:

  • Exercise 1:  BodyWeightSquats
  • Exercise 2: Push-ups or Modifiedpush-upsusing the ledge or park bench
  • Exercise 3: Step-ups on the park bench or other platform
  • Exercise 4: ShoulderRaise(no weight needed, go until you feel the burn, then hold arms parallel to floor for ten seconds to max out)
  • Exercise 5: MountainClimbers(place hands on front or back of park bench to make easier)

7. Repeat steps 4-6 anywhere from 1-5 more times depending on your fitness level and the amount of reps you have chosen.

8. Cool down with 5-10 minutes of light intensity aerobics and a fullbodystretch.

 Remember: Know your limits and stay within them.

 Ps. Call the Physical Activity Line if you have ANY questions on how to properly execute this type of work out.

 Pps. Feel free to comment below & share your favourite low cost/no equipment exercises with the community.

 Keep Positive, Keep Smiling and Keep Moving!


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