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Exercise

Pilates: Everything You Need to Know + Exercises

The first time you practice any new fitness class can be a little intimidating. But for some reason, Pilates has an air of “stay away from this if you don’t understand what you’re doing.”

Perhaps it’s the straps and springs. Maybe it’s the exercise styles that you’ve never heard of before.

Pilates offers plenty of perks to your body, no matter your fitness background. You’ll enhance your posture, concentrate on bodily alignment, and receive one heck of a core workout.

Whether you’re using a machine or on the mat, you can achieve the same benefits.

A 2016 study discovered that eight weeks of Pilates classes could help develop abdominal endurance, flexibility, and balance. Plus, Pilates is booming in popularity, with franchises such as Club Pilates popping up around the country.

Here’s everything a Pilates newbie needs to know and understand to enjoy your first class.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a low-impact exercise that strengthens muscles while developing postural arrangement and versatility.

Its movements tend to target the core, although the exercises operate in other sections of your body as well. You can perform Pilates with or without equipment (more on that below).

Regardless, anticipate the moves to include slow, definite movements and breath control. Hence, a typical Pilates workout is 45 minutes to an hour-long.

Mat Classes vs. Reformer Classes

There are two ways to conduct Pilates.

One is using a mat, which is a tad thicker than your regular yoga mat. This is to support pressure points.

Another is a machine called a reformer. It is a sliding platform packed with a stationary foot bar, springs, and pulleys to give you resistance.

Know which one you’re going into before you proceed to your workout. Regardless, both promote control rather than cranking out endless reps or muscle fatigue.

In Pilates, your muscles are working to rise against gravity. If you’re using a reformer, it builds resistance using springs or bands. The goal is to reinforce and isolate the right muscles.

Hence, it would be best to take your time with the exercises, concentrate on the task at hand, and unite to your breath.

Several Pilates-inspired workouts, like SLT, Brooklyn Bodyburn, and Studio MDR, aren’t “classic” but provide the same benefits. These studios employ a next-level reformer called a Megaformer, which is more significant than a regular reformer.

Regardless of what class you prefer, make sure to let your instructor identify you’re a beginner. This way, they’ll be ready to keep an eye on you during the class and provide modifications or form adjustments.

Pilates vs. Yoga

While the styles are different, Pilates and yoga help improve strength, balance, flexibility, posture, and good breathing routine.

Both are also linked with physical and mental health. However, yoga places more importance on relaxation and uses meditation.

Pilates can be done on both apparatus and mats, whereas classic yoga does not need any equipment.

Pilates exercises are performed in a flow of movement without the static postures compared with yoga.

Pilates Equipment You Should Know

Many Pilates mat sessions don’t require any tools other than, yes, a mat, which is usually provided. But other classes can use modified tools in addition to the reformer.

The usual pieces of equipment are the following:

  • Wunda, a low chair with padding and springs
  • Cadillac which looks a little like a bed with canopy support
  • Spine corrector
  • High chair
  • Magic Circle, a ring you frequently use between your legs to produce resistance

You’ll be Sore the Next Day

While you may not be grinding high-intensity exercises like squat jumps or lifting heavy dumbbells, the regular bodyweight routines that Pilates classes offer can be pretty powerful.

Take the signature Pilates Hundred, for instance. A core-focused movement that requires less than two inches of continuous training will make your abs burn. 

An expert instructor should provide you modifications. That way, you can execute each movement with good form (another reason to include yourself as a beginner before class starts).

Devoting your entire focus to even the least movements means that you’ll work the muscles that every exercise aims for. And that indicates you can be dealing with muscle soreness after your workout. 

Don’t worry: While next-day soreness may be at a new level after your first week, your body will get more adapted to the movements with time. Being sore the next day indicates you’re testing your muscles in new ways or working muscle groups that don’t usually get much attention.

Pilates Works for Several Muscle Groups

What’s cool about Pilates is that it’s limited to distinct body parts.

Sure, Pilates flows to concentrate on your core and trunk, but that doesn’t just involve your abs. Keep in mind that the core covers the entire trunk. This includes your abdominals, the hips, the inner and outer thighs, and the back.

So, expect a workout that trains your whole body.

What You Need to Know About Pilates Beginner Classes

There are an organized set of Pilates moves that are common in beginner classes, Herbert says. They incorporate:

  • The Hundred (a breathing exercise that also targets core strength and endurance)
  • The roll-up (a slow, careful movement that stretches the spine and the back of the body and strengthens the abdominals)
  • Leg circles (which extend the hips and core stabilizers)
  • Rolling like a ball (which strokes the spine and opens up the back)
  • Series of 5 (a group of moves that extend the abdominals and back muscles)

Wear Form-Fitting Clothes and Socks

You may fancy wearing loose-fitting workout wear. But you’ll need something body-hugging for Pilates.

Use capris or leggings with a tank top or fitted long-sleeved shirt. As for footwear, you can either be barefoot or wear socks for your session.

Most studios have their own recommended rules. Find it on the studio’s website, or ask the front desk when you check-in for your session.

If you’re going to go for socks, get yourself a pair with rubber detailing on the soles, so you don’t slide on the mat or machine.

A barefoot or socks-only approach will also help you navigate in and out of the straps on a regular reformer with comfort.

Every Studio has Different Lingo

Every workout from barre to CrossFit has its collection of language, Pilates included.

For Pilates, know that your “powerhouse” applies to the center of your body, where all your power comes from to move.

“Peel through your spine” indicates slow movement from vertebra to vertebra. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it with time.

In the meantime, look to regulars who catch on to the instructions instantly.

The best approach to do this? Put yourself in the center of the room. Whether it’s on a reformer or a mat, setting yourself in the center provides you an optimal view of all the activity.

Pilates Should be Part of a Well-rounded Fitness Plan

Even if a studio allows unlimited classes for the first week, don’t plan on jumping into a class every day. Your body requires a day or two to recover from fatiguing resistance exercises such as Pilates.

Pilates stretches, strengthens, and adjusts your body simultaneously. Thus, you can use it to complement your fitness plan.

Doing so will help you lift heavier weights, run faster, swim with better form, or even produce that elusive arm stability in yoga.

Can Pilates Help Me Lose Weight?

Pilates is grouped as a muscle-strengthening exercise, which can help you keep a healthy weight. Classes can range in intensity: they can be gentle or active and offer a solid workout.

If you want to drop weight, you’re advised to link Pilates with a healthy diet and aerobic exercises, such as swimming, walking, and cycling.

Is it Good for People With Pre-existing Conditions?

You can do your Pilates routine depending on what suits you. So it can be a magnificent addition to your aerobic exercise, even if you have health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Just remember to check with your doctor first.

If you have diabetes, you may require to make some modifications to your treatment plan. That’s because supplementing muscle mass helps your body produce better use of glucose.

Your doctor can tell you what modifications you need to make. Inform your instructor that you have diabetes, especially if you have any complications like diabetic retinopathy. That’s because you may need to avoid specific Pilates moves.

If you have arthritis, a strength-training program such as Pilates is an essential part of your exercise plan. Study shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training can help restraint symptoms, keep balance, retain joint flexibility, and help you get to and keep excellent body weight.

If you have possessed a fresh back or knee injury, put off Pilates until your doctor clears you. Pilates reinforces the thigh muscles (quadriceps), and this may help stop arthritis and knee injuries. It may also help prevent greater damage if you have arthritis.

Inquire your doctor if Pilates would be a great choice if you have chronic low back pain. It will help strengthen your weak core muscles that may be uniting to your pain. For the best outcomes, seek out a Pilates instructor who has at least several years of practice working with people with low back pain.

If you are pregnant, check first with your doctor. They will probably let you proceed in Pilates if you are already doing it, as long as your pregnancy is progressing. There may be some adjustments needed as your belly grows.

For example, after your first trimester, you shouldn’t exercise while lying flat on your back because this lessens your baby’s blood flow. There are also special Pilates programs for pregnant women that you can attempt.

Pilates Exercises to Work Your Core

To help you obtain the core-strengthening perks of Pilates, we’ve rounded up some of the method’s most useful moves.

They’re all traditional mat Pilates exercises. So all Pilates lovers will appreciate them, and people new to it can quickly learn them.

Another plus: None of these moves need equipment so that you can do them pretty much everywhere.

Choosing a few of the moves to perform as a warm-up before an intensive workout. Then, combine the rest of the exercises throughout your workout to keep targeting and engaging your core.

You can also select a few you like and do them a couple of times to produce a standalone core routine.

If you’re fresh to these exercises, try executing a move for 30 seconds, working your way up to a minute.

Criss-Cross

  • Lie face up and bring both knees in toward your chest.
  • Place your hands on the back of your head, keeping your elbows wide. Curl your head up.
  • Bring your left shoulder toward your right knee as you extend your left leg. Then bring your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend your right leg.
  • Continue alternating sides.

One Hundred

  • Lie face up.
  • Lift both legs toward the ceiling and lower them halfway so that they’re at an angle.
  • Curl your head up, reaching your arms long alongside your body, palms down.
  • Pump your arms up and down as you inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts.
  • Repeat this breathing pattern ten times while holding the position.

Leg Circle

  • Lie face up with your arms by your sides, palms down.
  • Bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the floor. Extend your right leg up so that it’s perpendicular to the floor.
  • Circle your right leg out to the side, down toward the ground, and return to your starting position. Make the circle as big as you can while still keeping your lower back on the floor.
  • Reverse the circle.
  • Complete all reps, one on a leg, and then repeat on the other.

Single-Leg Stretch

  • Lie face up.
  • Bring both knees in toward your chest, place your hands on your shins, and curl your head up off the floor.
  • Extend one leg out at a time, alternating sides.
  • Keep your lower back on the floor and your core engaged throughout.

Teaser

  • Lie face up. Bend your knees over your hips and lift your feet off the mat.
  • Extend your legs as you reach your arms toward your feet and lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Try to create a V shape with your torso and legs.
  • Hold for five breaths, and then roll onto your back, bend your knees again.

Scissor Kick

  • Lie face up.
  • Extend your right leg up so that it’s perpendicular to the floor. Bring your hands behind your right leg, pulling it in toward your face, and curl your head up. Lift your left leg off the floor a few inches.
  • Switch legs, pull your left leg toward you and let your right leg hover above the floor.
  • Continue switching your legs.

Double Leg Stretch

  • Lie face up and bring both knees in toward your chest. Curl your head up and place your hands on your knees.
  • Extend both legs out in front of you as you reach both of your arms overhead. Try to get your legs as straight as you can while still keeping your lower back on the floor.
  • Circle your arms out and around back to your knees as you pull your knees back in toward your chest.

Plank Leg Lift

  • Start in a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Alternate lifting one leg off the floor as high as you can but not past shoulder height.
  • Keep your core, butt, and quads engaged to avoid rocking your hips.

Pendulum

  • Lie face up with your arms extended out to your sides. Bend your knees over your hips and lift your feet off the mat.
  • Let both knees fall to the right; keeping your lower back on the floor.
  • Return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side.

Hip Dip

  • Start in a side plank with your right hand directly underneath your right shoulder and your left foot stacked on top of the right.
  • Dip your hips down toward the ground, and then lift them back up.
  • Repeat ten times before switching to the left side.

Slow Motion Mountain Climber

  • Start in a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Bring one knee in toward your chest at a time.
  • Keep your core, butt, and quads engaged to avoid rocking your hips.

Plank Rock

  • Start in a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Rock your whole body forward a couple of inches toward your hands and then back toward your heels.
  • Keep your core, butt, and quads engaged the entire time.

The Roll-Up

  • Use your abdominals to roll up and down with control. 
  • Do not rely on momentum or letting your legs lift off the mat. 
  • Pilates is about power, and this is where you build that control.

Rolling Like a Ball

  • Stay on your curve for the whole exercise. 
  • Initiate the rollback with the abs and not by falling back or using momentum.

Saw

  • Keep your hips anchored and level as you twist to the side. 
  • Use opposition when reaching forward so that you also reach back at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Pilates can be taught in a studio with an apparatus or an open space with mats and small tools. Both mat and apparatus pilates can be practiced privately or in small groups, with most classes lasting 60 minutes.

Ideally, apparatus classes should be taught on a 1-to-1 basis, while the mat work must have 12 participants at most. This is to guarantee that personal attention can be provided.

Group apparatus classes are standard, but a level of experience in using the apparatus is desirable before joining a group class.

When choosing a Pilates teacher, you should consider their experience, quality of training, character, and rapport. Veteran teachers will generally have experienced a minimum of 450 teacher training hours for many months or years.

 If you’ve wanted to join any Pilates sessions, but something has been holding you back, now’s your chance to sign up for your first one.

Categories
Exercise Fat Loss Weight Loss

Weight Loss Workout Plan That You can Do at Home

If you’re aiming to lose weight, a weight loss workout plan can be precious. Getting regular exercise can help you reach your goals in a healthy, sustainable way.

But there is more to it than that. You have to consider many things, like the workout you do and how often you do it.

Moreover, weight loss is not for everyone. People who suffer from an eating disorder or recovering from illness need to consult a doctor first. It would also help to seek the advice of professionals like nutritionists and a personal trainer.

For one, you need someone who can guide you with your weight loss journey. Second, you need people who can motivate you. That’s because weight loss doesn’t happen overnight.

That’s said, we’re here to bring some of the guesswork out of the equation.

Weight Loss Requires Strategy

We won’t discuss working out for weight loss without talking about a crucial element: Your eating habit.

To produce a calorie shortage that leads to weight loss, you have to consume fewer calories than you’re burning. You also need to be mindful about what you’re eating, making sure to eat quality calories and watch serving sizes.

And when it gets to working out, it would be best to create a program you can grow with.

Benefits of Working Out at Home

Those under the idea that the only means you can get a good workout are by running to the gym, you are mistaken.

That being said, since you are reading this, you presumably see merit in working out at home. It’s also likely that you have no option but to work out at home.

In any circumstance, if you are trying to figure out how to workout from home in the most efficient way, we have you covered. Do not worry; you will get in great shape if you follow this guide.

Whether you aim to lose fat or gain muscle, or both, we are going to show you everything you need to know about working out at home so you can accomplish that. 

But first, let’s review the benefits of working out at home:

1. Time-Saving and Convenient

There is no alternative more convenient than working out at home. You have 24/7 admittance to getting a workout in. Moreover, you won’t have to spend time and energy packing your stuff and getting yourself to the gym and back.

One of the most incredible things about the convenience of working out at home is you will stay constant. There will be no reason for you to “skip the gym” because you “don’t have time.”

Besides, you can apply that to do another workout with the time you save going back and forth to the gym.

Perform a cardio-based workout in the morning and a functional resistance training workout in the evening. Commit 30 minutes to each activity for a total of an hour each day.

The big understanding gym-goers don’t do this is that it needs a lot of time to go to the gym twice a day. That time to drive to the gym and back home is your extra workout!

All in all, you won’t get quicker results than by doing two effective workouts a day, with a day or two off every week to rest.

2. Free From Distraction

Although sometimes a good conversation at the gym can be fun, it frequently affects your workout. Without distractions, you can keep yourself zoned into your training. This is how you get an efficient workout in.

The purpose is to get in shape, so reducing distractions is advantageous.

What’s more, many times, people want to attempt new exercises and push themselves in different ways. But with people “watching” at the gym, insecurities emerge.

You will not have to think about this at home. You can test yourself with new ideas and not worry about someone seeing you fail. As much as we’d all like to say we are confident with ourselves, I bet every one of us can relate to feeling insecure about doing something at the gym before.

If you don’t fancy getting stares, home workouts are for you.

3. Cost-Efficient

If you perform bodyweight-only training, home workouts will cost you zero. That being said, most of us prefer to mix in some weights or other training devices.

So, you have a few choices for this. Kettlebells, steel maces, resistance bands, and dumbbells are affordable. They also do not take too much space. They are all you require unless you are trying to become a strongman or Arnold.

Even with the above tools’ costs, you will get that back with just a few months of gym fees, depending on what gym. 

Nevertheless, these tools can serve you forever, so regardless, it will be significant savings. It’s just a matter of time.

Want squat racks, barbells, benches, etc.? Even these significant investments will eventually be made up for with the cost of gym memberships. And, as with the other tools, they will last for a very long time.

4. Health and Safety

At the modern time of writing this, germs are top of everyone’s mind with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) closing down the world, gyms included.

However, this is something that we should consider for the future.

If you are concerned about bacteria, viruses, and good old “germs,” working out at home is your safest choice. The only germs you will be dealing with at home are solely yours and your family’s.

Here’s the breakdown of what you should be doing:

  • Strength training three days a week, one hour per session
  • High-intensity interval training one day a week, 20 minutes per session
  • Steady-state cardio one day a week, 35 to 45 minutes per session
  • Two days of active recovery

Every workout should start with at least five to 10 minutes of warming up. Rosante likes to begin with foam rolling, which supports mobility. Then transfer into a dynamic warm-up to get the blood flow moving.

After your workout, make sure you take time to cool down to ease your nervous system. After a couple of minutes, stretch out your major muscle groups as flexibility is developed when muscles are warm. And make sure to stretch each muscle for at least three breaths.

5 Warm-Up Stretches That Will Maximize Your Workout

1. Leg Cradle to Side Lunge

Stand on your left leg and raise your right leg off the ground opening your right knee to the right. Grasp below your right knee with your right hand and over your right shoe with your left hand.

Elevate your right leg toward your chest, parallel to the ground. Release your right leg and step it out to the right, reducing it into a side lunge on your right leg before recovering to standing tall. Do five repetitions on each side, alternating sides with each repetition.

Why it works: This stretch develops mobility and flexibility of your hips, ankles, thighs, and knees. This comes in handy throughout lower body exercises like squats, where you need your hips and ankles to be loosened up to get the full range of motion.

2. Back Lunge to Groiner

Start standing and step your right foot back into a backward lunge.

Bend both knees to drop your butt toward the ground while keeping your spine long. Put both hands on the floor inside your left foot and straighten your right leg behind you.

Lower your left elbow and gently push it against the instep of your left leg. Pause, then recover to standing. Do fives reps on each side, alternating sides with every rep.

Why it works: You’ll develop mobility in your knees, hips, ankles, and lower back and improve flexibility in your groin and hip flexors. This dynamic stretch comes in particularly handy if you’re making any lunges with weights during your workout.

3. Quad Pull With Tilt

Begin with the standing position. With your right hand, grasp your right foot behind you just above your right shoe.

Standing on your left leg, start to lean forward slightly while pulling your right knee up in the air. Hold for five seconds, then free your foot and return to standing. Perform fives reps on each side, alternating sides with each rep.

Why it works: You’ll receive mobility benefits in your knees, hips, and ankles, as well as added flexibility in your quads and hamstrings. Plus, this stretch tests your balance, too.

4. Hip Bridge With Reach

Lie flat on your back with your legs bent, feet level on the floor, and arms at your sides. Push through your heels and elevate your hips.

Once you’re at the peak of your bridge, move your right hand across your body toward the left shoulder, trying to touch the ground with your hand.

Be sure to hold your hips still and stable throughout the movement. Then, turn your arm to your side and lower your hips to the ground. Perform fives reps on each side, alternating sides with each rep.

Why it works: This controls mobility in your knees, hips, shoulders, and upper back. It also helps improve flexibility in your lats, oblique muscles, and hip flexors. The bridge helps stimulate the glutes for lower-body exercises, and the reach enhances mobility.

5. Three-Point T-Spine

Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and knees below your hips.

Put your right hand behind your head with your right elbow opening wide to the right. Next, take your right elbow down to point toward the ground while keeping the rest of your body still.

Now stretch it back up through the starting position and beyond, turning your upper body to the right as you try to get your right elbow to face the ceiling. Perform this five times, then switch sides.

Why it works: Your movement in your elbows, shoulders, and upper back should develop with this stretch, and so should the flexibility of your chest.

At-Home Workout Plans for Fat Loss

Now, to lose fat, we require to take a different strategy. We are going to adhere to full body workouts with moderate rest time.

The exercises will involve dynamic compound movements. This will keep your heart rate up, enabling you to burn more calories. 

We will employ circuit training, ascending and descending ladders, block training, and supersets for the resistance exercises. We won’t be bothering too much about progressive loading in the same way as developing muscle.

For fat loss, we just want to aim to consume a lot of calories in the workout. So that implies as we progress through a workout plan, we want to keep reducing rest time and developing intensity.

We can also raise the reps and volume of the workout if things begin to get too comfortable. All in all, what we want is to sweat bullets each exercise.

HIIT workouts will be quick, 15-20 minutes, and cardio will be about 30-40 mins at a maintainable speed. Our aim for cardio is to burn fat and develop cardiovascular health, increasing our resistance training capacity.

The following workout plans can be supported for as little as four weeks and as long as eight weeks. Stick to the program and eat a decent high protein diet, and the results will follow.

Bodyweight-only Home Workout Plan #1 (Fat Loss):

4-8 weeks

Day 1: HIIT (15 mins) 

Day 2: Resistance Training (A & B exercises are supersets)

Details:

  • Aim for high reps. Ideally, each superset should have you working 60-120 seconds.
  • Keep rest time to a minimum.

Day 3: Cardio (30-40 mins)

Day 4: Resistance Training

Details:

  • Do as many reps as you can each block. Rest only when you have to. An excellent way to attack this is in sets (i.e., five chin-ups, quick rest, five chin-ups, brief rest, and so on until the 6 mins is up).
  • Take 2-3 mins rest between blocks.

Day 5: HIIT (15 mins) 

Day 6: Resistance Training 

Circuit 1:

Circuit 2:

Circuit 3:

Details:

  • Aim for high reps on each exercise
  • Complete the three exercises in each circuit without resting, rest for a minute and move to the next circuit. Once you finish circuit 3, go back to circuit 1 and repeat. Do each course three times. 

Day 7: Active Recovery

Body Weight-Only Workout Plan #2 (Fat Loss):

4-8 weeks

Day 1: Resistance Training

Traditional:

Details

  • High rep count
  • Rest ratio 1 to 1 each set.
  • Complete each exercise for all three sets, then move to the next exercise.

Circuit:

Details

  • Do circuit 3 times
  • Use a challenging rep count; don’t go easy on yourself!

Ascending or Descending Ladder:

NOTE: Top exercise goes down one rep each set, and the bottom goes up 1 set each set. Continue until Burpees are at one rep and Squats are at ten reps

Day 2: HIIT (15 mins)

Day 3: Cardio (30-40 mins)

Day 4: Resistance Training

Circuit x 4 rounds:

Day 4: HIIT (15 mins)

Day 5: Cardio (30-40 mins) 

Day 6: Resistance Training

Descending Ladder:

Details

  • Minimal rest
  • Try to complete workout as quickly as possible

Another Option

DETAIL:  Finish as quickly as possible

Day 7: Active Recovery

At-Home Workout Plans With Body Weight, Kettlebells, Steel Maces, and Bands

The following two workout plan alternatives take the same ideas from the above. However, it incorporates the use of resistance bands, steel maces, and kettlebells. 

In these workouts, you’ll find the most reliable fat burning exercises for each training tool. They are dynamic, ballistic, multiplanar compound moves. Your heart will be pumping fast through these workouts, and your body will be dropping fat. 

Home Workout Plan #1: (Fat Loss)

6 weeks

Kettlebells, Steel Maces, Resistance Bands, Bodyweight

Day 1: Resistance Training

Circuit 1:

Circuit 2:

Circuit 3:

Details:

  • Aim for high reps on each exercise
  • Complete the three exercises in each circuit without resting, rest for 1 min and move to the next circuit. Once you finish circuit 3, go back to circuit 1 and repeat. Do each circuit three times. 

Day 2: HIIT (15 mins)

Day 3: Cardio (30-40 mins)

Day 4: Resistance Training 

Details:

  • Do as many reps as you can each block. Only rest when you have to. An excellent way to attack this is in sets (i.e., five pull-ups, quick rest, five pull-ups, brief rest, and so on until the 6 mins is up)
  • Take 2 mins rest between blocks

Day 5: HIIT (15 mins)

Day 6: Cardio (30-40 mins) 

Day 7: Active Recovery

Home Workout Plan #2 (Fat Loss):

6 weeks

Kettlebells, Steel Maces, Resistance Bands, Bodyweight

Day 1: Resistance Training 

Traditional:

Details

  • High rep count
  • Rest ratio 1 to 1 each set.
  • Complete the exercise for all three sets, then move to the next exercise. 

Circuit – 3 Rounds:

NOTE: Use a challenging rep count; don’t go easy on yourself! 

Ascending/Descending Ladder:

NOTE: Top exercise goes down one rep each set, and the bottom goes up 1 set each set. Continue until Burpees are at one rep and Squats are at ten reps 

Day 2: HIIT (15 mins)

Day 3: Cardio (30-40 mins) 

Day 4: Resistance Training

Circuit x 5 rounds:

Details:

  • High reps, relative to your strength
  • 1-2 min rest between rounds 

Every Minute On The Minute for 5 mins: Steel Mace Joust x 20 (fast thrusts)

Finisher:

10 Turkish Get Ups (each side and finish as quick as you can)

Day 4: HIIT (15 mins)

Day 5: Cardio (30-40 mins)

Day 6: Resistance Training 

Day 7: Active Recovery

Active Recovery

One day out of your week will be an active recovery day. This is when your body has an opportunity to rest up and rebuild muscle fibers that you’ve been tearing during your workouts.

You would want to lay off those strenuous workouts in favor of just some gentle movement. Keywords: gentle movement. An active recovery day isn’t a free pass to rest on the couch and do nothing.

Movement helps enhance blood flow, pushing more oxygen-rich blood to your muscles to speed recovery. Faster recovery could reach more immediate results.

4 Cool-Down Stretches For After Your Workout

1. Figure 4 Stretch: Hold for 30 seconds on each side

Figure 4 opens up the hips and loosening the glutes.

  • Begin lying on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Raise your left leg and cross your left ankle over the right knee.
  • Touch hands around the right leg to meet under the thigh. Bring the right thigh toward you while keeping your torso pressed against the floor.
  • Utilize your left elbow to gently press your left knee away from you as you draw your right thigh in closer.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, increasing the stretch with every exhale, then switch sides.

2. Reclining Twist: Hold for 10 seconds on each side, repeat 3-5 times

This stretch is excellent for releasing the lower back.

  • Lie on your back and bring your left leg into your chest and keep your right leg straight.
  • Exhale and turn the bent knee across the center of the body. Then press the opposite hand onto the bent knee and extend the other arm.
  • Continue for 10 seconds on each side, repeating three to five times.

3. Cat/Cow Stretch: Continue for 30 seconds

This stretch helps in breathing and slows down the heart rate. Inhale in the cow pose when your back is arched and while looking upwards, then exhale as you draw your chin to your chest and round your spine.

  • Start on your hands and knees. Straighten your shoulders over wrists and your hips over knees.
  • Take a slow inhale, and on the exhale, arch your spine and lower your head towards the floor (this is the “cat” pose).
  • Inhale and raise your head, chest, and tailbone towards the ceiling as you bend your back for “cow.”
  • Move through this order for 30 seconds.

4. Child’s Pose: Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.

This stretch is grounding because it joins you to the floor at your shins, knees, ankles, feet, chest, and head. Try to extend your spine by extending through the crown of your head and your tailbone. Then, let everything fall into place.

  • Sit back on heels with your knees out widely separated.
  • Bend forward at hips and lower your chest between your thighs with your forehead leaning on the ground.
  • Stretch your arms long and place your palms on the ground.
  • Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Consistency is Key

However you choose to structure your workout, make sure you stay consistent with the routine.

Don’t change it up too frequently. Adhering to a routine allows you to progress, and more importantly, track your journey. You will get far better outcomes if you stick to a plan.

The old saying “you need to keep shifting things up to keep your body guessing” is just plain incorrect. If you do that, you can’t develop in any one area.

The only time you need to switch things up is when you reach a plateau. And the only way you should be shifting things up until then is by progressively overloading.

Here are some tips for building a routine and sticking to it:

  • Stick to basic movements. They are all you need to become fit and grow.
  • Simpler the routine, the better the outcomes. Don’t over complicate things. Just add the most functional, compound movements, and stick to them. They are tried and true over intricate and new.
  • Don’t “shift things up.” Instead, double the difficulty by adding more reps, time under tension, or weight load. Don’t just jump into kill-yourself-mode. Increase toughness and intensity slowly but certainly. If you jump right into 5 or 10 miles your first run, you probably won’t go repeatedly running for a while as you will think, “that was horrific.”
  • Minimum of 4 weeks for your routine, and a maximum of 12 weeks. Then you can shift to a new routine.

As long as you’re moving around a bit, you’re good to go. If there’s something you love to do, don’t hesitate to do so. It doesn’t matter if you’d want to walk or run for 30 minutes. What’s important is that you move and enjoy your life while reaching for your goal.

Categories
Exercise

Calisthenics: Everything You Need to Know

Even if you’re uncertain what calisthenics is, you’ve seen it in action.

The ripped guy at your local gym who can lift his whole upper-body over a pull-up bar – that’s a muscle-up, and he’s practicing calisthenics. The guy you saw on YouTube who’s transformed himself into a human flag by holding his body parallel to the ground, he’s doing calisthenics too. And that guy you’ve seen doing dips in the park, yep, he’s doing calisthenics too.

Keep on reading if you want to dive deep and learn more about calisthenics.

What is Calisthenics

The word calisthenics comes from the Greek words “Kalos,” meaning beauty, and “Stenos,” which transposes as strength.

Originally, calisthenics as a method of improving health to ensure beauty and strength. It’s grown into a training process that shares a lot in common with gymnastics.

However, you can do calisthenic outdoors, which is also known as a “street workout.”

Most people perceive calisthenics by seeing someone doing an advanced variant of it. The man they saw was probably Hannibal Lanham (a.k.a. Hannibal for King).

His version of calisthenics, which he trained in parks around Queens, New York, brought the system to millions’ attention.

Calisthenics Versus Weights

The question isn’t whether calisthenics is more suitable or worse for you than any other training program. Instead, consider calisthenics as the basis for every other strength-gaining method, from bodybuilding to CrossFit.

That’s not to say that utilizing weights and joining bulk isn’t allowed in calisthenics. Weights can be used as long as your body is supporting natural movement patterns. You can do weighted calisthenics movements and see body development in size as a result.

What Research Says about Calisthenics

Science has also resolved that there are real benefits to doing calisthenics.

According to a 2017 study by the Sports and Exercise Science researchers are the University of Palermo, calisthenics is an “efficient training solution to develop posture, strength and body composition without the use of any major training tools.”

The research took 28 men and split them into two groups. One group trained calisthenics for eight weeks, while the other group remained with their regular workout routines.

After eight weeks, all participants had a body composition analysis, a postural evaluation, a handgrip test, and a press-up and pull-up test.

The researchers found that the men who practiced calisthenics had developed better posture and lowered their fat mass. Meanwhile, they did more press-ups and pull-ups, even though their training didn’t involve these specific exercises.

In contrast, the group who remained with their regular training routines didn’t make any development.

The Benefits of Calisthenics Workouts

You don’t need any equipment

The advantage of calisthenics is that you can do it anywhere, anytime-all you need is your body. It’s one of the only ways to increase mass and strength without the use of weights.

You can increase serious strength

You might be thinking: “How, if you’re not lifting barbells or dumbbells?” But you can achieve a lot using just your bodyweight. If you’re a 150-lb woman performing a bodyweight pull-up, you’re effectively lifting 150 lbs.

It’s true that you will obtain a particular max point of muscle growth with calisthenics. That’s because muscle mass comes from progressive resistance, and there will only ever be so much resistance given by your own body.

But that’s where getting creative comes into play. 

Use elevated surfaces to alter the angle of exercises, increasing the percentage of body weight that you’re lifting. Use vertical surfaces (i.e., walls and poles) to stimulate your body in new ways, and recruit your core like you wouldn’t believe (human flagpole, anyone?). Go faster, slower, longer, upside down, or improve your range of motion to keep producing physical and mental adaptations.

You’ll move better IRL

Since calisthenics is all about moving your body in space, it’s the ultimate working movement training. Working training implies training in a way that will enhance the way you perform your daily tasks.

You likely maintain better form

When using free weights or machines, you can continue to progress your strength and muscle mass. However, people often end up using too much resistance on a device or weights that are too heavy. That leads to compensating, meaning you don’t execute the exercise properly using the correct muscles.

Calisthenics gives you the required solid base of strength when including external resistance in your training. If you can’t lift your body weight, you definitely shouldn’t be trying to lift more on a machine.

You hit every. single. muscle

Calisthenics involves using the entire body and not emphasizing specific muscles over others. What I’m talking about is strength from the bottom of your feet to the tips of your fingers.

You’ll be gentler on your joints and connective tissue

When done wrong, resistance training can put extra stress on soft tissue structures like your tendons, ligaments, and fascia.

Calisthenics, on the other hand, only increases strength and size in balance to your muscular system. This means authentic and natural movements.

You develop your brain-body connection

Calisthenics exercise improves those fine motor skills that need your brain to work hard as well as your body.

Coordination, speed, power, acceleration, strength, quickness, and agility are all movements evident in a body that is trained in calisthenics.

Think of a gymnast: It takes a lot of strength, flexibility, and stamina to do these movements, not to mention incredible coordination.

You’ll feel like a badass

Yes, really.

There is a noticeable swagger about someone who knows that they have total authority over their body.

Performing a super heavy deadlift or hoisting a massive kettlebell overhead can make you feel super badass. But the same thing goes when hitting out plyo push-ups or being capable of pulling off a one-arm pull-up.

Calisthenics and Weight Loss

Calisthenics is more suited for burning calories, which may help you drop weight and body fat. That’s because it practices a lot of movement. This needs more energy, which your body generates by burning calories. The higher calories you burn, the more weight you lose.

Calisthenics can also be used in more strenuous workouts, like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit training. This can add even more extra movement and further increase your caloric burn.

The isolated actions of weightlifting don’t need as much energy. Yet, it’s worth noting that it will still provide overall weight loss. Building muscle improves your basal metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn at rest.

Calisthenic exercise is a vital ingredient in the treatment of obesity. Little information is known about the best and safest form of physical activity for people who struggle with obesity. More so if it involves volume-intensity. 

To study the effect of physical exercise programs in medical and surgical treatment for morbid obesity. Performing calisthenics also helps improve flexibility. This is made possible by incorporating movements that fully extend the body. It also reduces your percentage of body fat! Bikini body, here you come. 

A traditional calisthenic exercise is the jumping jack. This elementary school class takes more than just burn calories: it also runs towards heart health, strength, and stress relief. Your fat-burning metabolism is most efficient while you run at intensities varying from 47% to 64%. 

Sprinting is the most effective method of improving your endurance. It helps your maximum oxygen capacity and lowers your blood pressure. It can also result in an increased production of endorphins, which help to relieve stress.

Calisthenics for Beginners

You wouldn’t require to walk into a gym for the first time and instantly start benching 100kg. Leave the muscle-ups to more seasoned practitioners, for now.

You need to begin with fundamental exercises.

With calisthenics, the most basic yet essential movement is the humble press-up. If you’re not capable of doing a press-up, consider doing an incline press-up.

To do that, place your hands on a bench or anything that’s a similar height and can handle your body weight. With your feet on the ground, just work on moving through the press-up movement and building proper form.

Once you’ve mastered an incline press-up, you’re set to move on to doing regular press-ups, where you’ll be testing more of your body weight. If you can do 20 of those, then you’re set to move on doing dips, but you have to be able to manage 100 percent of your own body to do those.

As a beginner, you should also work on bodyweight movements like squats, lunges, planks, and basic pull exercises like rows.

To do a row, grasp onto a bar and fall backward. Making sure your feet are constantly touching the ground and pull your chest toward the bar.

This move is made simpler by beginning in an incline position. The more parallel you are to the ground, the harder this will get, and that’s your succession.

Calisthenics Workout for Beginners

Once you’ve tested out the beginner’s exercises, and are comfortable with them, put them into a whole routine with this calisthenics workout for beginners.

Do 2 to 3 rounds of the following exercises, and take 2 minutes of rest between rounds.

Press-ups

Between 5 and 20 reps depending on your ability. If you can make more than 20 moves onto the intermediate workout below.

Set up with your weight supported on your toes and hands beneath your shoulders, body straight. Take care to keep your core locked, so a straight line forms between your head, glutes, and heels.

Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground, then explosively drive up by fully extending your arms.

Squats

15 to 20 reps.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start the movement by bending your knees and sitting back with your hips.

Go down as far as you can and quickly reverse the motion back to the starting position. Keep your head up and back straight throughout the move.

Plank

30 to 45 seconds, depending on your ability.

Get in a press-up position but rest on your forearms rather than your hands. Make sure your back is straight and tense your abs and your glutes. Hold without allowing your hips to sag.

Close-grip Inverted Row

Between 5 and 20 reps.

Set up a bar in the squat rack and grab it with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Pull your body up until your chest almost touches the bar, keeping your body straight from neck to ankles throughout. Pause, then lower yourself back down to the start position.

Walking Lunges

10 to 15 on each leg.

Lunge forward as far as you can with your right leg, bending your trailing knee, so it almost brushes the floor. Use the heel of your right foot to push yourself off into the next lunge, this time leading with your left leg.

Side Plank

30 seconds on each side.

Lie on your left side with your knees straight and prop your upper body to take its weight on your forearm. Brace your core and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line. Hold this position while breathing deeply. Then roll over and repeat on the other side.

Calisthenics Exercises

We’ve already reviewed the kinds of beginner-friendly calisthenics exercises. But if you’re more advanced, then there are some various exercises for you to try.

Wide-grip Pull-ups

Grab the bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms fully extended. Your hands should be as wide as you can comfortably get them. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, exhale, and drive your elbows towards your hips to bring your chin above the bar. Lower under control back to the start position.

Dips

Grab the bars of a dip station with your palms facing inward and your arms straight. Slowly lower until your elbows are at right angles, ensuring they stay tucked against your body and don’t flare out. Drive yourself back up to the top and repeat.

Superman Plank

Position yourself in the normal plank position, holding your body in a straight line supported by your forearms and toes.

Next, slowly lift and extend one arm and the opposite leg, hold for five seconds or for as long as feels comfortable. Bring both your arm and leg back to the starting position and raise the opposite arm and leg.

Once you’ve mastered the movement, you can extend the amount of time you spend in the superman position.

Handstand Press-ups

Place your hands on the floor in front of a wall. Kick yourself up against the wall and straighten your arms. Keep your legs and body as straight as you can. With the back of your head parallel to the wall, bend your arms. Exhale at the bottom and push up.

Pistol Squats

Stand with your feet in a narrow stance and lift one leg off the floor. Bend your standing knee to squat down as low as you can while keeping your back straight. Push back up to the start position through your heel, then switch legs and repeat. That’s one rep.

Progression Calisthenics Workout

Complete 2 to 3 rounds of the following exercises, but reduce the rest period from 2 minutes down to 1 minute in between rounds.

Wide-grip Pull-ups

5 to 20 reps.

Grab the bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms fully extended. Your hands should be as wide as you can comfortably get them. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, exhale, and drive your elbows towards your hips to bring your chin above the bar. Lower under control back to the start position.

Squat Jumps

10 to 15 reps.

Squat down, keeping your back straight, until your thighs are parallel with the floor and your bum is about level with your knees. Explode upwards into a jump, and go straight into the next squat.

Arms Extended Plank

30 to 45 seconds.

Get in a press-up position but with your arms as far in front of your head. Hold yourself there with your arms fully extended. Make sure your back is straight and hold for the allotted time.

Dips

5 to 20 reps.

Grab the bars of a dip station with your palms facing inward and your arms straight. Slowly lower until your elbows are at right angles, ensuring they stay tucked against your body and don’t flare out. Drive yourself back up to the top and repeat.

Jumping Lunges

10 to 15 reps on each leg.

Lunge forward until your rear knee is almost touching the ground. Jump into the air, bringing your rear foot forward and the front foot back. Land in a lunge and repeat.

Hanging Leg Raises

10 to 15 reps.

Grab a pull-up bar and lower yourself into a dead hang. Let your legs straighten and pull your pelvis back slightly. Tense your core and raise your legs until your thighs are perpendicular to your torso. Hold then lower slowly back to the starting position.

Calisthenics and strength exercise programs are believed to cause weight loss. Nonetheless, exceptional care for volume-intensity exercises is required if you’re making an individualized exercise program.

Categories
Exercise

The Importance of Activity Tracking

Since grade school, we were taught the importance of having plenty of exercises. But as we age and take in adult responsibilities, it’s challenging to squeeze a time to workout.

Aside from reducing your sodium and alcohol consumption to manage your blood pressure, for instance, there are other lifestyle changes you can do. This is where having an exercise program could come in handy.

Luckily, there’s a simple method of staying fit. The trick is tracking how many minutes of activity you occupy each day and each week.

Once you’ve laid out what you do and where you fall short, you can figure out how you can incorporate exercise into your routine.

For example, you might already be using half-hour for walks in the park with your dog on Saturday mornings and playing an hour of tennis each Sunday. Log in on the sheet, and your cardio is done for the day.

However, you have no cardio from Monday through Friday. So, instead of driving to work, consider walking if possible. If not, you can opt to park from the far end of the parking lot or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

The key here is to have 30 minutes of manual effort, and you’re good to go.

Aside from cardio, you can also log stretching and strength-building exercises. Still, you should always check with your doctor before you start a new exercise regimen. More so if you have pre-existing health issues.

Nonetheless, regular physical activity is a proven method for reducing health risks like high blood pressure. It also allows you to reap the following benefits:

  • Retrain your heart and lungs to move blood and oxygen with less stress and strain.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Reduce your cholesterol.
  • Stop or delay osteoporosis.
  • Lessen your weight and eliminate obesity.
  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Help ease arthritis pain.

The key here is to do things slowly. No one became a triathlete overnight, anyway.

Establish small, achievable goals each week and then make gradual improvements until you reach the recommended weekly totals on your Fitness Log.

Remember: The best way to attain your goal is to find activities that you enjoy and use them to reach your weekly exercise target. That said, you should keep the following things in mind:

Moderate Activity

Moderate activity gets your heart pumping but doesn’t exaggerate it and leave you completely out of breath.

You can walk rapidly, do light aerobics, play baseball or softball, go hiking, or swim. And if you’re hanging out with friends, consider taking a bike ride instead of having coffee.

Vigorous Activity

Vigorous activities leave you sweaty and almost out of breath. You can do jump rope, run, box, weight train, race-walk, or learn karate.

Try adjusting your routine: Play a little one-on-one basketball with a friend. You’ll both be more suited for it!

Here are other ways you can sneak in some exercise:

  • Washing and waxing a car for 45-60 minutes
  • Playing volleyball for 45-60 minutes
  • Washing windows or floors for 45-60 minutes
  • Playing touch football for 45 minutes
  • Gardening for 30-45 minutes
  • Walking two miles in 30 minutes
  • Wheeling self in a wheelchair for 30-40 minutes
  • Shooting a basketball for 30 minutes or play basketball for 15-20 minutes
  • Pushing a stroller 1½ miles in 30 minutes
  • Bicycling five miles in 30 minutes or for miles in 15 minutes
  • Raking leaves for 30 minutes
  • Dancing fast for 30 minutes
  • Water aerobics for 30 minutes
  • Swimming laps for 20 minutes
  • Shoveling snow for 15 minutes
  • Stair walking for 15 minutes
  • Jumping rope for 15 minutes
  • Running 1½ miles in 15 minutes

Five reasons to track your activity

1. It helps you concentrate on a clear goal

It is common knowledge that your goal should be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to lose weight or improve your fitness. What’s important is that you can track your movements by establishing SMART goals.

An example of a SMART fitness goal would be reaching 10,000 steps a day. And you can measure it by wearing a pedometer.

2. It stimulates you

Recognizing your progress and knowing that everything you do counts can be motivational.

Those flashing lights on your wrist, the complimentary alerts when you reach a new milestone, and the note that you have a specific target to reach can inspire you to achieve your goals.

3. It keeps you responsible

A fitness tracker gives you a clear idea of what you’re executing, helping you be honest with yourself, and making intelligent choices. If you’re not tracking your activity, it can easy to exaggerate or misjudge how much you’re moving throughout the day.

Metrics tell you the real narrative, and you’d want to be examining your best results at the end of the day. So, you’ll be supported to find more opportunities to be active wherever you can.

4. It helps you understand your progress

The best part of tracking your activity is the feeling of accomplishment that comes when you reach your daily goals. There’s nothing like that little dash of positive support when you know you’ve done what you set out to do – and it can be addictive.

It can also help you look at your development over the long term to see how far you’ve come, no matter where you started from.

Compare your steps to your regular averages a week or a month ago. Chances are, you’ve made excellent strides, and you should feel good about it!

5. You can do more than just track steps

Tracking your steps with a pedometer is a comprehensive, simple solution. But some of the benefits of using a more advanced fitness tracker are the other features it offers you.

For example, the Fitbit Flex shows you how many “active minutes” you have completed (with 30 minutes being the default target.) It also allows you to measure your sleep, giving you an exciting picture of how restful your nights are.

Plus, you can track things like your food, weight, and hydration, helping to produce a fuller image of your overall health.

Can it be as simple as counting steps?

Before we jump into how we should be tracking our activity, we need to level-set. What does “physical activity” mean specifically?

Moderate physical activity refers to any movement you make. Then, there’s exercise, a subcategory of physical activity that’s more powerful or strenuous. Both have benefits, and it’s essential to be sure you’re getting loads of each.

Our bodies aren’t meant to sit all day, but — through no guilt of our own, many of our everyday routines are sitting-centric.

We sit in our cars, we sit at our desks, we sit on the couch after a long day at work. All this sitting can total up to a lot of downtimes where we’re just flat-out inactive.

When you’re sitting all day, your body tenses up in ways that it shouldn’t. Standing up and moving around helps reduce this tension and gets your blood flowing. It is recommended to devote at least 10 minutes throughout the day to be physically active. This can include stretching, marching in place, or taking a lap around your office or home.

These days, every activity tracker has its own set of metrics and goals to help support you sit less and move more. When it comes to tracking your general activity level, you’d still opt for simplifying things by focusing on your step count. If you notice your way behind on steps, it’s the motivation for you to get up and walk around.

The aim is to be moving around throughout the day, and taking steps every hour is a great way to achieve that.

While you probably don’t require 10,000 steps a day, choosing a step goal that’s practical for you ensures that you’re being active enough.

However, the downside of tracking your steps is that it’s not always the best method to get some exercise.

Where did 10,000 steps come from?

When wristband fitness trackers first became popular, those who wore them became influenced by the 10,000-step goal. It was a challenging goal! And hitting it sometimes felt like the most significant achievement of the day.

But where did the 10,000-step goal come from?

It sets out this magic number as the result of a Japanese study dating back to 1965 — and it’s been attached with us ever since (well, sort of). This study looked at how physical activity (or inactivity in this case) compared to health in older women.

The study discovered that many older women were relatively sedentary (averaging only 2,500 steps per day). On the other hand, taking closer to 5,000 steps per day decreased a woman’s risk of death by almost half. This risk was further lessened by stepping even more — beyond 5,000 steps but leveling around 7,500.

So how did we end up with a 10,000-step goal instead of what sounds like should’ve been a 7,500 one? The thought is that 10,000 steps are just easier to remember, making for more uncomplicated information to the market.

What are the best ways to track your progress?

Calendar

This is the most basic way of tracking your workout activity. This type of tracking enables you to plan out the days on which you will complete your workouts.

Thanks to the latest smartphones, you can have a calendar with you at all times.

Electronic calendars can collect more information about your workouts. Plus, there are reminders that you could set to inform you about your upcoming workout schedules.

If you prefer an old-school strategy, you can fix a calendar on a wall and track your activities with a pen.

This is the simplest way of tracking your workout progress. However, it does not provide a lot of space for details, except for your schedule and the number of repetitions you can do.

Online websites

There are lots of great online tools that can help you track your workout journey. One excellent example is bodybuilding.com.

Apart from tracking, the website allows a big community of people to share the same interests as yours. This is a perfect way to obtain new information about different exercises and workout routines.

Another website that offers a bunch of tracking details is thesquattingrack.com. On this site, you have to include a whole set of data about your current workout progress. From there, you can track your records, like weight lifting and squatting. You can even track your body measures and nutrition plan.

Based on all this data, a graph is projected to give you a summary of your progress curve. Since all the information is straightforward, you can easily see what improvements would make your workouts more efficient.

Workout gadgets

Workout gadgets can be groundbreaking, as they offer data about a person’s physical activity throughout the day.

There is a type of trackers out there, and it all comes down to your personal preference. These are some of the several popular fitness gadgets in the world that are used by millions of people:

  • Fitbit Blaze is an excellent choice for people who want to wear a tracker that is also fashionable. This Fitbit product serves its goal perfectly, just like the majority of their other gadgets.
  • Garmin Vivosmart HR gives a variety of different notifications for you throughout the day. The optical technology behind this useful gadget is fit for specific measurements of your heart rate. It is an excellent device for those who want to stay in the target HR values to maximize calorie expenditure during the workout.
  • Jawbone UP2 is a device with a considerably uncomplicated design. It tracks all of your activity throughout the day, and the software that it comes with is relatively simple to use. However, if you fancy having a screen on your tracker, this is probably not the best option for you. Keep in mind that this device is much cheaper than the competition despite submitting accurate information.
  • Misfit Shine 2 is a beautifully designed tracker with an incredibly precise data tracking feature. If you want a device that gives top-notch data, this is probably the one you should go for.

These are just some of the trackers that are available on the market today. The thing with wearable technology is that it continually checks your body’s state even when you are asleep.

The goal of these devices is to provide data about your physical activities and eating habits so that you can develop a wholesome lifestyle.

Smartphones

If you don’t fancy carrying a lot of different gadgets, you can turn your smartphone into a great activity tracker. These devices are equipped with several sensors that can be used to track your daily activity levels.

The essential part of using your smartphone as a fitness tracker is picking the right software for your device. If you do your research well, you’ll be able to get the best solutions on websites like CrowdReviews.com.

With the correct application on your phone, you can receive almost all of the details the above mentioned trackers have to offer. You can track your heart rate throughout the workouts as well as the calories burned and distance covered. The majority of tracking apps can also show you graphs of your journey.

Most of the apps are free, but if you want excellent options unlocked, you may need to invest a little bit of money – approximately around $2-5.

If you are content with basic information about your day, Google Fit is a great way to track your progress. Other big companies, such as LG and Samsung, extend their fitness trackers integrated with Google Fit.

With so many choices, it comes down to personal preference. No matter what approach you choose, the most significant thing is that you keep your tracker with you at all times.

Tracking workouts and progress can be very motivating. It will just depend on how much time you are willing to commit to it. Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly make plans for your next routine.

Consult your physician before you start your exercise plan to avoid injury, and work your way up to a more intense activity level.

If your heart isn’t pumping quick enough, you’re missing the opportunity to develop your cardiovascular health. First, determine your maximum heart rate and use that number to determine your target heart rate.

  • Deduct your age from 220 to determine your maximum heart rate. If you are 40, for instance, your maximum heart rate is 180.
  • Multiply this number by 70 percent (.70) to get your objective heart rate. 180 X 70 percent is 126.
  • Try to keep your target heart rate for about 20 minutes of your workout.
  • Don’t go beyond your maximum heart rate.

Several machines in the gym, such as the treadmill, can electronically monitor your heart rate. When you’re doing other exercises, you can stop and take your pulse for six seconds and multiply it by ten.

Don’t worry if you aren’t reaching your objective heart rate when you first begin a daily exercise routine. If you’ve been inactive for a long time, getting up to just 60 percent of your target heart rate is still helpful.

Categories
Exercise

The Best Bodyweight Exercises That You Can Do at Home

There is an increasing number of people working out in the safety of our own homes due to the pandemic. However, not everyone owns every gym equipment.

Luckily, adding bodyweight exercises into your routine can still do wonders. This includes blocking common running injuries and building strength.

Moreover, expensive machines and heavyweights aren’t always required for a great workout. In fact, there are a lot of bodyweight programs that can help you sculpt your body and take your fitness to the next level.

All you need is your body weight, the force of gravity, and a few simple pieces of equipment.

What is Bodyweight Exercise?

Bodyweight exercises are strength-training workouts that utilize the person’s weight to resist gravity.

It can improve a range of biomotor abilities, including the following:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Flexibility
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Coordination
  • Balance

This explains why various strength training has become popular among athletes.

Bodyweight training uses simple skills such as pushing, pulling, squatting, and more. Movements such as the push-up, the pull-up, and the sit-up are some of the most traditional bodyweight exercises.

Advantages

While a few exercises may require some type of equipment, the majority of bodyweight exercises require none. For activities that require tools, everyday household items would suffice.

You can use bath towels for towel curls or a tree branch to perform pull-ups). Therefore, bodyweight exercises are convenient when traveling or on vacation. 

Another advantage of bodyweight training is that there are no costs required.

What makes bodyweight training regimens so much more effective? Here are just some of many other benefits:

Works the Full Body

Bodyweight movements work out different muscle groups simultaneously, helping you tone and strengthen your body from head to toe.

While you might think of a push-up, for instance, it can also help develop core strength as an upper-body exercise. More so when combined with squat.

And a good core strength is vital to good posture, correct movement patterns, and injury prevention.

Builds Balance and Flexibility

Your body must stabilize itself while doing bodyweight movements. Doing so strengthens the muscles and stretches the ligaments and tendons.

These help you stay balanced while walking, running, doing household chores, or taking part in any other physical activity. Body control is necessary to ward off injury, especially as we age. 

Gives You Freedom

You can acquire the many benefits of bodyweight training, which includes not making excuses.

You can have bodyweight training in a cross-training class, personal training session, or at home.

Whether you’re traveling or just squeezed for time, bodyweight circuits demand very little space or time. It can be done in a hotel room, parking lot, the beach, or conference room.

It’s Not Boring

Doing the same type of workout every day will get wearisome. But there’s no end to the number of different exercises you can do, just by connecting a series of bodyweight movements.

Modify the movements, the repetitions, and the time domain to have things exciting and fun. Improve the movements’ speed and intensity, and you can get in a heart-pounding, fat-blasting workout in just minutes. 

There’s no doubt lifting weights, using cutting-edge cardio equipment, and taking advantage of unique gym services will help you get in great shape. But mixing in a bodyweight training routine can help you maintain a well-rounded fitness regimen that never gets dull. 

Disadvantages

As bodyweight exercises use the individual’s weight to produce movement resistance, the weight lifted won’t exceed a person’s body weight. And this can restrict new muscle growth.

Another disadvantage is that bodyweight training may be daunting to beginners.

Women, in general, also find it more challenging to do bodyweight exercises concerning upper body strength. They may restrain them from undertaking these exercises in their fitness regimens.

Meanwhile, athletes may regard it as too easy. 

Bodyweight Exercises That You Can Do at Home

Bodyweight exercises will help you target your legs, core, and even your upper body.

Try incorporating five or more of the exercises below into your workout at least three times a week. Do 10 to 15 reps of each exercise for three or more sets. The list is ordered according to body part: lower upper body, lower body, and core.

You can opt for five exercises per muscle group. For example, one week might include a leg-day workout, a core-focused routine, and an upper body session. You can mix specific movements to target your entire body.

To help get you started, here are some bodyweight exercises that you can do at home:

Upper Body

Push Up

Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core, glutes, and legs engaged.

Bend the elbows to lower chest to the floor. Elbows should point back at a 45-degree angle. Push back up to starting position, making sure to keep hips in line with the rest of the body.

If you can’t push up without dipping hips or get the chest to the floor, drop to knees to build strength. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Triceps Dip

Sit down on a chair, bench, or box with feet planted on the floor. Place hands behind you on the edge of the seat. Lift hips up to slide off the chair. Bend elbows to lower butt to the floor. Push back up and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Crawl Out to Push-Up

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Reach down toward toes and walk hands out to a high plank position. Bend elbows at a 45-degree angle as you lower chest to the floor. Push back up to plank. Walk hands back to feet, then slowly roll back up to stand. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Plank March

Start in high plank position, with arms straight, wrists directly under shoulders, body forming a straight line from your head to heels.

Bend right elbow to lower right forearm to the floor. Lower left forearm to the floor. Extend the right arm, then the left arm to return to the starting position.

Continue to repeat, alternating which arm you start with each time.

Burpee

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Place hands down in front of feet, then jump feet back to a high plank position, keeping hips up and in line with shoulders and heels.

Drop chest to the ground. Push back up, without arching back, as you jump feet back to hands. Stand and jump up. Repeat from the top for 10 to 15 reps.

Lower Body

Air Squat

Start standing with feet just wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out, clasp hands at the chest for balance. Send hips back and bend at knees to lower down as far as possible with the chest lifted. Press heels back up to starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Walking Lunge

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step forward with the right foot, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Drive through the right heel to stand while stepping left foot forward and dropping into a lunge on the left side.

Continue walking forward, making sure back knee hovers just off the floor with each step. You can perform this move with bodyweight or holding two dumbbells or kettlebells for an added challenge.

Do 10 to 15 reps per side.

Single-Leg Balance

Start standing with hands-on-hips. Shift weight to the left leg and bring the right knee up so hip, knee, and ankle form 90-degree angles. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat on the other leg.

Backward Lunge

Stand with feet together. Step right leg back, lowering down, so both knees form a 90-degree angle, with right knee hovering just above the floor.

Drive through the left heel to stand up to starting position. Repeat on the left side. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side.

Single-Leg Bridge

Lie faceup, and knees bent, feet planted, arms down by sides on the floor.

Lift the right leg up toward the ceiling so that both knees are aligned. Engage glutes as you lift hips up, driving through the left heel.

Lower back to the floor, then repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Switch sides.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Start standing. Place the top of your right foot on a yoga block, bench, or chair behind you.

Step left leg out far enough to create a 90-degree angle without the knee reaching past the toes. Squeeze inner thighs together as you lower straight down. The left knee should hit 90 degrees, while the right knee points straight down to the floor.

Press through the left heel to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then switch sides.

Glute Bridge

Lie faceup, knees bent, and feet planted on the floor. Drive through heels, contracting the glutes to send hips toward the ceiling. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Plyo Lunge

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step left foot back and lower into a lunge, knees forming 90-degree angles.

Drive through your right heel to jump up, switching legs in the air. Land in a lunge position with left leg forward.

Continue alternating lunges with a jump in the middle, aiming to increase time in the air and decrease time on the ground. Do 10 to 15 reps per side.

Single-Leg Half Squat

Start standing and shift weight to the left leg as you lift the right knee, so shin is parallel to the floor.

Send hips back and bend your left knee to lower halfway down into a squat as you raise arms out in front of you for balance. Keep weight in the left heel.

Stand back up to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then switch sides.

Straight-Leg Calf Raise

Stand with feet hip-width apart on the edge of a step or box, legs straight. Push through to come up to your toes. Pause for a second, then lower heels back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Shoulder Bridge

Lie faceup, and knees bent, feet planted on the floor. Place arms down by sides. Contract glutes and lift hips toward the ceiling as high as possible so you draw hands together below. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Bent-Knee Calf Raise

Stand on the edge of a step or box with feet hip-width apart, knees bent about 45 degrees. Shift weight to the right leg and let the left foot hang. Push through the right forefoot to come up to toes. Pause for a second, then lower heels back down. Perform 10 to 15 reps, then repeat on the other leg.

Heel Drop

Stand with left foot on a step and right heel hanging off the edge. Bend left knee to lower right heel below the step, then press back up. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then repeat on the other leg.

Eccentric Calf Raise

Stand on your toes with feet hip-width apart on the edge of a step or box. Slowly and with control, lower heels down below the edge of the step. Pause for a second, then slowly lift back up to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Core

Plank

Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists. Step feet back and engage glutes and thighs to keep legs straight. The body should form a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels.

Think about pushing the ground away from you and pulling the belly button up toward the spine to keep back flat. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.

Mountain Climber

Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core engaged, so the body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Engage glutes and thighs to keep legs straight.

Drive left knee in toward chest, then quickly step it back to plank position. Immediately drive the right knee in toward the chest, then quickly step it back into plank position.

Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side.

6-Inch Hold

Lie faceup, legs straight, arms by sides with hands positioned below glutes for support. Lift legs just six inches off the mat. Draw the belly button to spine to keep low back from lifting up off the mat. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Russian Twist

Sit on the floor, knees bent, heels resting on the mat. Lean your upper body back about 45 degrees. With elbows bent and hands together, rotate torso to the right, then rotate torso to the left. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side. To make it harder, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell or lift heels off of the floor.

Leg Lift

Lie faceup, legs straight, hands under glutes for support. Keeping low back flat against the mat, lift legs up toward the ceiling, maintaining knees as straight as possible. Slowly lower legs back down toward the floor. Continue to press low back into the mat. When legs hover just an inch off the floor, lift back up and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Bicycle Crunch

Lie faceup with both hands behind head, elbows wide, and legs in a tabletop position with knees over hips. Peel the right shoulder off the mat to bring the right elbow toward the left knee as you extend the right leg straight. Reverse to draw the left elbow to the right knee as you extend the left leg straight. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side.

Windshield Wiper

Lie face-up on the mat with arms straight out, so the body forms a “T” and extends legs straight up toward the ceiling.

Keep your abs braced and lower your legs to the right as far as you can without lifting your shoulders off the floor. Swing legs to the left and lower as far as possible without lifting shoulders.

Continue alternating from side to side with control.

Superman

Lie facedown with legs extended and hands placed on the mat in front of the forehead. Lift arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Contract the glutes and thighs and relax the shoulders and neck. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Bird Dog

Start on all fours, knees under hips and shoulders over wrists. Keeping back flat, extend right arm and left leg straight out. Draw the right elbow and left knee toward each other, hovering just above the floor. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then switch sides.

Swimmer

Lie facedown, arms and legs extended. Contracting back, glutes, and legs, lift arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Holding the elevated position, raise your arms and legs up and down, one side at a time in quick succession like you’re swimming. Hold and continue alternating legs and arms for 30 to 60 seconds.

Scorpion

Lie facedown, legs straight and arms out to the sides in a T and thumbs pointing up. Bend left leg and reach heel toward the right hand. Try to keep shoulders on the ground. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Then repeat on the other side.

Bodyweight Exercises for Older People

Interestingly, there are bodyweight exercises that are deemed beneficial for the elderly. This includes improved muscle mass, mobility, bone density, reduced depression, and better sleep. 

It is also believed that bodyweight training may reduce or even stop cognitive decline as people age. Also, the heightened risk of falls seen in older people can be prevented by bodyweight training.

Exercises concentrating on the legs and abdomen such as squats, lunges, and step-ups are suggested to increase leg and core strength. Thus, helping reduce fall risks among elderlies. 

Luckily, there are bodyweight exercises that produce a multi-directional movement that simulates daily activities.

Bodyweight exercise has seen a resurgence in popularity in the past decade. But there are many ways to modify an exercise to suit your needs. This means that you don’t have an excuse not to work out.

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Exercise

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise: What is Best for You?

There’s much discussion about what type of exercise is more suitable for your health: aerobic or anaerobic.

Aerobic exercise, like walking, bike riding, or running, expects your body to move, breathe faster, and increase your blood flow. It’s a level of activity that you can continue for an extended time.

Can you pass the “talk test?” If you can somewhat easily make a discussion during an exercise, you’re at an aerobic level.

Anaerobic exercise, like sprinting or weightlifting, is a quick, intense activity that has you working to the max, and it can’t be maintained for long.

Which is better for weight loss? Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise has advantages, and you should include each into your routine.

Keep on reading to know more.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) is a physical exercise of low to high intensity. It is based on the aerobic energy-generating method.

“Aerobic” is described as “relating to, including, or requiring free oxygen.” Hence, it has something to do with using oxygen to meet energy requirements during exercise sufficiently. This process is called aerobic metabolism

Aerobic exercise is repeating a series of light-to-moderate intensity exercises for extended periods. It is designed to be low-intensity enough that all carbohydrates are aerobically turned into energy. This is possible through a process called mitochondrial ATP composition.

Examples of cardiovascular or aerobic exercise are average to long-distance running, jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking.

Health and Performance Benefits

Among the verified health benefits of performing regular aerobic exercise are:

  • Reinforcing the muscles affected in respiration to promote the flow of air in and out of the lungs
  • Strengthening and increasing the heart muscle. Doing so helps develop its pumping efficiency and decrease the resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning
  • Enhancing circulation efficiency and lessening blood pressure
  • Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, aiding the transport of oxygen.
  • Relieves stress, reduces the incidence of depression, and improves cognitive capacity.
  • Diminishing the risk for diabetes.
  • Reducing the chance of death due to cardiovascular problems

High-impact aerobic exercises (such as jogging or using a skipping rope) can:

  • Stimulate bone mass
  • Reduce the chance of osteoporosis for both men and women

In enhancement to the health benefits of aerobic exercise, there are many performance benefits:

  • Improving the storage of energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates within the muscles. This enables elevated endurance.
  • Neovascularization of the muscle sarcomeres to improve blood flow through the muscles.
  • Improving speed at which aerobic metabolism is initiated within muscles. Doing so allows a more significant portion of energy for intense exercise to be generated aerobically.
  • Improving the strength of muscles to use fats during exercise, maintaining intramuscular glycogen.
  • Improving the speed at which muscles grow from high-intensity exercise.

Neurobiological effects

Types of Aerobic Exercises

Disadvantages

Some drawbacks of aerobic exercise involve:

  • Overuse injuries because of constant, high-impact exercise such as long-running.
  • It is not an effective way of building muscle.
  • Not an effective means of fat loss unless used consistently.

The health and performance benefits, or “training effect,” require a minimum duration and frequency. Experts recommend at least twenty minutes done at least three times per week.

Aerobic exercise can help almost anyone. But get your doctor’s permission if you’ve been inactive for a long time or live with a chronic condition.

If you’re fresh to aerobic exercise, it’s essential to start slowly and work up gradually to lessen your risk of an injury. For example, begin by walking 5 minutes at a time and add 5 minutes each time until you’re up to a 30-minute brisk walk.

What is Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise is a type of activity that cuts down glucose in the body without utilizing oxygen. This means that anaerobic exercise is more difficult but shorter than aerobic exercise.

The biochemistry of anaerobic exercise incorporates a method called glycolysis. It is a process wherein the glucose is turned to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary energy source for cellular results.

Lactic acid is generated at an extended rate throughout the anaerobic exercise, causing it to build up quickly. The build-up of lactate over the lactate threshold (also termed anaerobic threshold) is the primary cause of muscle fatigue.

Anaerobic exercise can support endurance, muscle strength, and power.

Health and Performance Benefits

If anaerobic exercise seems like a lot of work, that’s because it is. But the benefits that come with the excellent fitness regime are sufficient to make you want to power through your next workout.

Increases bone strength and density

Anaerobic activity, like resistance training, can enhance the strength and mass of your bones. This can also lower your risk of osteoporosis.

Promotes weight maintenance

Aside from helping your body efficiently manage lactic acid, anaerobic exercise can help with weight management.

According to one study, HIIT training can result in a reasonable reduction in stomach body fat than regular cardio.

Increases power

A 2008 study administered on division 1A baseball players found that players who made eight 20- to 30-second wind sprints three days a week saw their power enhanced by an average of 15 percent throughout the season.

Boosts metabolism

Anaerobic exercise helps increase metabolism as it builds and keeps lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn through your next sweat session. High-intensity training is also thought to improve your post-workout calorie burn.

Increases lactic threshold

By continually training above your anaerobic threshold, the body can enhance its ability to handle lactic acid. This helps improve your lactic threshold or the point at which you experience fatigue. That indicates you’ll be able to work out harder for longer.

Fights depression

Need a pick-me-up? Researches show that anaerobic exercise, like strength exercise, can boost your mood and even fight depression.

Reduces the risk of disease

Increases in strength and bone density achieved by high-intensity anaerobic training, like bodyweight squats and pushups, can lessen your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Protects joints

By increasing your muscle strength and mass, your joints will be better preserved. This means you’ll have greater protection against injury.

Boosts energy

Regular anaerobic exercise improves your body’s capacity to store glycogen. This is your body’s energy source.

What happens is that you get more energy for your next round of intense physical activity. This can develop your athletic ability.

Types of Anaerobic Exercises 

Disadvantages

The issue with anaerobic exercise is that it does not correct your blood pressure levels, cardiovascular resistance, or caloric and triglyceride levels. This explains why you should develop solid fitness through aerobic exercises first before engaging in anaerobic workouts. 

An essential role of aerobic and anaerobic exercises is flexibility. Flexibility exercises expand and lengthen your muscles. The purpose of flexibility exercises is to develop the range of motion and keep muscles limber, which lessens injury. 

These exercises are commonly done before and after aerobic and anaerobic training to “warm-up” the muscles. Examples of flexibility exercises are forward and side lunges or any style of stretching a muscle group.

It is advised that athletes stretch each of the significant body muscles before and after any physical activity for maximum benefit. 

It is proven that physical fitness allows you to have a healthy lifestyle. It also helps build and maintain healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility. Moreover, exercise can improve physiological well-being, reduce surgical risks, and boost the immune system.

Anaerobic exercise can be tough on your body. On a one-to-ten scale for noted exertion, high-intensity anaerobic exercise is anything over a seven. It’s not typically advised for fitness beginners.

Get your doctor’s permission before adding anaerobic workouts to your routine. Work with a certified fitness professional who can help you plan an anaerobic program based on your medical history and goals.

For workouts like HIIT and weight training, a fitness professional can also show the proper exercise techniques. Performing the exercises with proper technique is vital for blocking an injury.

The Science Behind Aerobic vs. Anaerobic

The contrast between aerobic and anaerobic exercise comes down to oxygen levels.

In aerobic or “with oxygen” exercise, your muscles have adequate oxygen to provide the energy needed to perform. Anaerobic exercise means oxygen requirement is more significant than oxygen supply, and you can’t keep up with the energy your body is requiring.

This leads to lactate production and, eventually, the suspension of the exercise.

How Often Should You Do Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises?

The American Heart Association suggests healthy adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise five days a week. Another option is to have at least 25 minutes of strenuous aerobic activity three days a week.

You can also combine strength training two times a week to round out your routine.

Anaerobic exercises can be demanding on the body. With a doctor’s support and a certified fitness professional’s help, anaerobic exercises can be added to your weekly exercise cycle.

Do anaerobic exercise like HIIT workouts no more than two or three days each week, always providing for at least one full day of recovery in-between.

Why is Anaerobic Exercise Better for Fat Loss?

Aerobic exercise, or steady-state cardio, is done at a steady, low to average pace. This type of activity, which employs slow-twitch muscle fibers, is ideal for cardiovascular conditioning and developing muscular endurance.

While it’s generally thought that this low-intensity cardio is excellent for fat loss, think again.

While it does use a more significant percentage of fat for energy, the whole amount of energy burned at this level is lower than during anaerobic exercise. This indicates that extensive periods of aerobic exercise are needed to obtain significant fat loss for most people. This often ends in a plateau.

Anaerobic exercise is done in the form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This is where you rotate high-intensity periods with recovery intervals. This is beneficial for various reasons:

Save time

Initially, you can get in an intense workout in a fraction of the time. If time is a limitation for you, a HIIT session is a great choice. You’ll consume your muscles and burn more calories than you would in the equivalent amount of time doing steady-state cardio.

Burn more calories

Second, you’ll burn more calories in that amount of time. The more complicated your workout is, the more calories you’ll burn.

HIIT will cause your caloric expenditure to be higher than if you just walked or casually saddle your bike for the same period.

Increase in metabolism

Another benefit of HIIT is that you’ll build muscle and improve your metabolism.

HIIT needs your fast-twitch muscle fibers to engage in exercises. Some examples are sprinting, plyometrics, and weightlifting, which develop muscular size and strength.

This means you’ll be building muscle mass, which will speed up your metabolism as muscle burns more calories than fat.

The afterburn effect

Fourth, you’ll encounter the afterburn effect. The afterburn effect’s scientific term is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC is the amount of oxygen needed to return the body to its resting state.

HIIT sessions stimulate a greater EPOC because you consume more oxygen during that time. Doing so produces a more massive deficit to replace post-workout. This implies you’ll continue to burn calories even after your HIIT session is over.

The HIIT workout

If you feel fit enough to tackle your hand at some intense anaerobic exercise, try these sample HIIT workouts for best calorie burn.

Sprints

Sprint all out for 30 seconds, then rest for 1 minute. Do it again for 20 to 30 minutes.

Circuit training

Execute each exercise in the circuit for 30 seconds with a 10-second break after each if needed. Do this circuit continuously for 10 minutes:

  • burpees
  • jump squats
  • bicycle crunch
  • mountain climbers
  • jump lunges
  • pushups
  • jumping jacks 

Cons of HIIT

Although HIIT as anaerobic exercise is helpful for fat loss, there are some cons.

The biggest drawback is that it’s not for everyone. You’ll require a basic level of fitness before you can engage in HIIT safely and efficiently. If you’re new to exercising, it can be too harsh for your body, specifically your heart.

If you’re capable of performing HIIT, exercises like plyometrics, sprinting, and weightlifting can increase injury chances. That’s because these explosive movements are fast and require a lot of force.

And lastly, HIIT can be uncomfortable during the session, due to the high intensity, or afterward because of soreness.

Aerobic and anaerobic exercises can be helpful for your health.

Depending on your goals and fitness level, you might want to begin with aerobic exercises two to three times a week. As you develop endurance and strength, you can add in anaerobic activities such as HIIT and plyometrics. These exercises can help you grow muscle, burn fat, and improve your exercise stamina.

While both aerobic and anaerobic exercise has their place in a well-rounded fitness routine, anaerobic activity can be more efficient for fat loss.

If you’re combining HIIT and strength training, keep in mind that total weight loss is not an actual progress indicator. With an exercise like this, your body will experience recomposition, meaning dropping fat and adding muscle.

To trace your progress, measure fat loss instead, as muscle is denser and takes up less space for a given weight.

Before engaging in any exercise routine, check first with your doctor. You can also work with a certified fitness professional at your gym or community center who can suggest the best routine for you.

Categories
Exercise

Losing Weight in Yoga: How Does It Work?

No matter your age and body type, there is no denying that yoga can soothe the mind and body. What’s cool about it is that you can roll out your yoga mat any time of the day.

Doing so allows you to enjoy the mental and physical perks that yoga can bring. You do not even have to be a yogi or yogini to reap the benefits!

What is Yoga?

A set of exercises called poses, linked with specific breathing techniques and meditation principles, are the building blocks of yoga.

If a pose creates pain or proves too challenging, some variations and modifications can help students. Aids like blocks, blankets, straps, and chairs can be applied to help you get the most benefit from the poses.

However, yoga is not one-size-fits-all. The best yoga workout for you will depend on your specific needs and goals.

The advantages of a regular yoga practice are wide-ranging. In general, a complete yoga workout can help keep your back and joints healthy. It can also enhance your overall posture, stretch and strengthen muscles, and improve your balance.

Moreover, yoga can be relaxing and reinvigorating. It helps you concentrate on your breath, helping you calm your mind and be in the moment.

In recent years, more and more study is demonstrating the wide-ranging health bonuses of yoga.

History of Yoga

The roots of yoga are shrouded in the mists of time. Nonetheless, it is considered to have been revealed to the great sages of India a thousand years ago.

Yoga is an antiquated system of physical and mental disciplines. It originated during the Indus Valley civilization in South Asia. The primary purpose of yoga is to promote harmony in the body, mind, and environment.

Yoga professes a whole system of physical, mental, social, and spiritual development. For ages, this philosophy was passed on from the master teacher to the student. The earliest written records of the practice of yoga emerged around 200 BC in the Yogasutra of Patanjali. The system consisted of the eightfold path of Ashtanga yoga.

In the West, numerous yoga schools are popular and use some or all limbs of Asthangayoga described by Patanjali. The eight limbs are as follows:

  • Yama: rules for prosperous living in a society
  • Niyama: methods for managing and purifying self
  • Asaana: posture methods for physical and mental balance (what most people think of as yoga)
  • Pranayama: breathing procedures for physical and psychological balance
  • Pratihara: techniques for separating the mind from the senses for mental balance and calm
  • Dharana: concentration methods for mental balance and calm
  • Dhyana: meditation procedures for mental balance and calm
  • Samadhi: ultimate advanced meditation and psychic processes achieved after regular practice for universal consciousness

The process comprises the arousal of the Kundalini Shakti or serpent power, believed to be located at the human spine’s base. As one practices the different techniques, this power or latent energy grows through a series of centers or Chakras. 

When this power obtains the highest center, it results in control over the hypothalamus. In this process, the secretion of hormones from various endocrine glands can be managed.

This mechanism may emphasize the importance of yoga as a stress management procedure.

Modern Yoga

Numerous schools of yoga exist and use all or some of the eight limbs.

The traditional practice of yoga was quite challenging. A lifelong devotion to the practice and adherence to stern sacrifices is needed. Later-age yoga teachers have transformed the techniques, and various paths began:

  • Bhakti yoga: the way of devotion
  • Gyana yoga: the way of knowledge
  • Raja yoga: the way of wisdom to self-realization and enlightenment
  • Karma yoga: the way of action

Other methods such as hatha yoga (path of physical self-discipline), mudra yoga (the path of channeling life force), and chakra yoga (the path of energy forces) have also increased in popularity.

Today, many yoga schools have simplified the procedures and made them simple to practice for working people.

The system of yoga is in the method of developing as an organized science. Various ways have developed and become famous throughout the world, especially in the West. Examples of traditional systems in the West include kriya yoga and Simplified Kundalini Yoga.

Kriya yoga became famous in the West because of the applications of its founder, Paramhansa Yogananda. The Self-Realization Fellowship also brings it to the United States.

The word kriya came from the Sanskrit root kri, meaning “to do,” “to act,” and “to react.” This method incorporates a psycho-physiological procedure by which human blood is decarbonated and recharged with oxygen. This extra oxygen is shifted into the life current to rejuvenate the central nervous system. It also helps reduce and prevent the decay of tissues and enhance the evolution of the mind.

One well-evolved school of yoga is kundalini yoga or a method of the primordial energy union. This school’s trademark is that it begins from the seventh step in Asthangayoga, which is the Dhyana or meditation.

In kundalini yoga, the primary meditation technique involves performing a “formless” contemplation at different points. This practice consists of the pituitary and hypothalamus glands.

In addition to the meditation, chosen asanas, breathing procedures, and relaxation are practiced. This is to reduce muscular strain, improve the lungs’ vital capacity, and balance the endocrine and central nervous systems. With this practice of yoga, physical exercises are simplified.

This school’s methods have been popularized by the Universal Peace Sanctuary (Erode, India), founded in 1937. The same thing goes for the World Community Service Centre (Chennai, India) established in 1958. Both these organizations have numerous branches worldwide and have trained thousands of practitioners.

A recent variation is called power yoga, in which practitioners take a more active approach and rush from one pose to another.

The Benefits of Yoga

The benefits of different yoga methods are said to improve body flexibility, reduce stress, and achieve inner peace. It is also believed to aid the healing of several ailments. This includes coronary heart disease, depression, anxiety, asthma, and more.

The system has also been recommended as behavioral therapy for smoking cessation and substance abuse.

If you practice yoga, you may obtain these benefits:

Physical

  • Enhanced body flexibility and balance
  • Increased cardiovascular endurance (healthier heart)
  • Enhanced digestion
  • Increased abdominal strength
  • Enhanced overall muscular power
  • Relaxation of muscular aches
  • Weight management
  • Boosted energy levels
  • Improved immune system

Mental

  • Ease of stress resulting from the control of emotions
  • Blocking and relief from stress-related disorders
  • Intellectual enrichment, leading to improved decision-making skills

Spiritual

  • Life with meaning, purpose, and direction
  • Inner peace and tranquility
  • Contentment

A word of caution about the incorrect practice of yoga is essential at this point. The multiple benefits may come as an injury for new practitioners of yoga or those doing it without proper instruction.

Over 36 million Americans are reported to be following some form of yoga, and health care professionals see injuries. This includes muscle and ligament sprains, neck and back pain, and cartilage damages.

Thus, before attending a yoga class, ask about the credentials and training of the instructor. You may wish to sit in on a class and witness before committing yourself to a set program.

Specific Health Conditions Improved by Yoga

Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis afflicts about 1.3 million Americans — most of them are women.

Yoga can help people with arthritis deal with pain and stiffness. Doing so allows them to increase their range of motion strength for daily activities.

Multiple sclerosis: Specific forms of yoga may help lessen fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). This is according to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University.

Individuals who are inactive or elderly: If you are sedentary, yoga may be the ideal exercise for both mind and body to start your activity life.

Yoga also helps reduce stress, strengthen the bones and muscles, and improve posture. It also helps improve health and vitality. Because you don’t have to be in top physical shape to practice yoga, it is the right exercise for sedentary people and seniors. 

Instructors can help adjust yoga poses. You don’t have to get down on the floor or a mat to practice yoga. It can be started while you remain in a chair.

Losing Weight with Yoga

While yoga isn’t traditionally reflected as an aerobic exercise, specific yoga types are more physical than others.

Active, intense forms of yoga help you burn the most calories. This may help stop weight gain. Ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga are patterns of more physical types of yoga.

Vinyasa and power yoga are usually taught at hot yoga studios. These varieties of yoga keep you moving almost always, which helps you to torch calories.

Practicing yoga may also help you promote muscle tone and improve your metabolism.

While therapeutic yoga isn’t a primarily physical type of yoga, it still aids in weight loss. One study found that therapeutic yoga was efficient in helping overweight women to lose weight.

These findings are especially encouraging for people whose body weight may make more dynamic forms of yoga difficult.

A review of studies from 2013 found that yoga is a great way to help with behavioral change, weight loss, and maintenance. That’s because it allows your body to burn calories, heighten mindfulness, and relieve stress. These factors may help you to decrease food intake and become aware of the effects of overeating.

More in-depth, high-quality investigations are required to expand on these findings.

How Often Should You Do Yoga to Lose Weight?

Practice yoga as regularly as possible to lose weight. You can do a more active, powerful practice at least three to five times per week for at least one hour.

On the other days, balance out your practice with a more relaxing, soothing class. Hatha, yin, and therapeutic yoga classes are great options.

If you’re a newbie, start slowly and gradually develop your practice. This enables you to build your strength and flexibility and prevent injuries. If you don’t have time for a full class on some days, do a self-practice for at least 20 minutes. Indulge yourself in one full day of rest each week.

Link your yoga practice with activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming for added cardiovascular benefits.

As part of your routine, withdraw from weighing yourself directly after a yoga class, particularly if it’s a hot yoga class. Instead, weigh yourself at the same time every day.

10 Yoga Poses You Need to Know

The building blocks of yoga are poses. These are good ones to learn as you develop a regular yoga practice.

These ten poses are a full yoga workout. Move gently through each pose, remembering to breathe as you move. Pause after any pose you find challenging, mainly if you are short of breath, and start again when your breathing comes back to normal. The idea is to maintain each pose for a few slow breaths before moving on to the next one.

Child’s Pose

This calming pose is a good default stop position. You can use a child’s pose to rest and refocus before proceeding to your next pose. It smoothly stretches your lower back, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles and relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck.

Do it: When you want to get a nice soothing stretch through your neck, spine, and hips.

Skip it: If you have knee injuries or ankle difficulties. Also, avoid it if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant.

Modify: You can rest your head on a pillow or block. You can put a rolled towel under your ankles if they are uncomfortable.

Be mindful: Concentrate on relaxing the muscles of the spine and lower back as you breathe.

Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-facing dog strengthens the arms, shoulders, and back. Meanwhile, stretching the hamstrings, calves, and arcs of your feet. It can also help ease back pain.

Do it: To help relieve back pain.

Skip it: This pose is not suggested for people having carpal tunnel syndrome or other wrist problems. It’s not recommended for people with high blood pressure or is in the late stages of pregnancy.

Modify: You can perform the pose with your elbows on the ground, which takes the weight off your wrists. You can also use blocks under your hands, which may seem more comfortable.

Be mindful: Concentrate on distributing the weight evenly through your palms and lifting your hips up and back, away from your shoulders.

Plank Pose

A usually seen exercise, the plank helps build strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and legs.

Do it: Plank pose is ideal if you are looking to tone your abs and build your upper body strength.

Skip it: Bypass plank poses if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. It can be tough on your wrists. You might also skip it or adjust it if you have low back pain.

Modify: You can adjust it by placing your knees on the floor.

Be mindful: As you perform a plank, imagine the back of your neck and spine lengthening.

Four-Limbed Staff Pose

This push-up variation follows plank pose in a typical yoga series known as the sun salutation. It is a great pose to learn if you want to eventually work on more advanced poses, such as arm balances or inversions.

Do it: Like plank, this pose improves your arms and wrists’ strength and tones the abdomen.

Skip it: Avoid this if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, a shoulder injury, or are pregnant.

Modify: It’s a good idea for newbies to change the pose by keeping your knees on the floor.

Be mindful: Press your palms equally into the floor and lift your shoulders away from the floor as you keep this pose.

Cobra Pose

This back-bending pose can help strengthen the back muscles and improve spinal flexibility. It also helps expand the chest, shoulders, and abdomen.

Do it: This post is excellent for strengthening the back.

Skip it: Avoid this if you have arthritis in your spine or neck, a low-back injury, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Modify: Lift a few inches without trying to straighten your arms.

Be mindful: Attempt to keep your navel drawing up away from the floor as you continue this pose.

Tree Pose

Beyond helping develop your balance, it can also strengthen your core, ankles, calves, thighs, and spine.

Do it: Excellent for working on your balance and posture.

Skip it: You may want to skip this pose if you have low blood pressure or any medical conditions that can affect your balance.

Modify: Put one of your hands on a wall for support.

Be careful: Concentrate on your breath in and out as you hold this pose.

Triangle Pose

Triangle, which is a part of many yoga sequences, helps develop strength in the legs. It also stretches the hips, spine, chest, shoulders, groins, hamstrings, and calves. It can also help improve mobility in the hips and neck.

Do it: This pose is ideal for building strength and endurance.

Skip it: Dodge this pose if you have a headache or low blood pressure.

Modify: If you have high blood pressure, turn your head to gaze downward in the last pose. If you have neck difficulties, don’t turn your head to look upward; look straight ahead and hold both sides of the neck long.

Be mindful: Keep lifting your raised arm to the ceiling. It helps maintain the pose buoyantly.

Seated Half-Spinal Twist Pose

This twisting pose can improve your back’s flexibility while stretching the shoulders, hips, and chest. It can also help ease tension in the middle of your back.

Do it: To loosen tight muscles around the shoulders and upper and lower back.

Skip it: Avoid this if you have a back injury.

Modify: If bending your right knee is stiff, keep it straight out in front of you.

Be mindful: Raise your torso with each inhale, and twist as you exhale.

Bridge Pose

This is a back-bending pose that develops the muscles of the chest, back, and neck. It also increases strength in the back and hamstring muscles.

Do it: If you sit most of the day, this pose will surely help you open your upper chest.

Skip it: Avoid this pose if you’re having a neck injury.

Modify: Put a block between your thighs to help have your both legs and feet in proper alignment. Or you can put a block under your pelvis if your lower back is troubling you.

Be mindful: While maintaining this pose, try to keep your chest lifted and your sternum toward your chin.

Corpse Pose

Like life, yoga classes usually end with this pose. It enables a moment of relaxation, but some people find it hard to stay still in this pose. However, the more you attempt this pose, the more comfortable you sink into a relaxing, meditative state.

Do it: Regularly!

Skip it: If you don’t want to hold a moment’s peace.

Modify: Put a blanket under your head, if that feels more comfortable. You can also roll up a blanket and place it under your knees if your lower back is sensitive or hurting you.

Be mindful: Feel the pressure of your body sinking into your mat one part at a time.

Commit yourself to do yoga regularly, especially if you want to practice it for weight loss.

Make small, continuous changes and set modest goals so that you’re more likely to stick to them. As you develop your practice and awareness, you may find yourself naturally pulled to healthy foods and living ways.

While it’s not guaranteed that you’ll lose weight, your positive effects may extend far beyond weight loss.

Categories
Exercise

Zumba for Weight Loss: Is it Effective?

Many people testify that Zumba can aid weight loss. But can it really?

Yes, it can. However, the dance sessions are no magic fix for cutting pounds. It just happens to come in a package that most people don’t hate, which is dancing.

Because people find the classes enjoyable, they keep attending, which gets the job done. The theory behind this weight loss routine is that whatever gets you moving is good. And if it keeps you coming back more, and it’s because you enjoyed it.

If you want to use Zumba to reduce weight, or if you’ve already been trying but haven’t seen the numbers on the scale budge yet, there could be some reasons.

Zumba — a high-energy form of aerobic exercise sparked by Latin dancing — can be a fun way to enhance your physical activity and daily calorie burn.

You’ll need to produce a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you’re spending to lose weight. You can do this by decreasing your daily caloric consumption, boosting your physical activity, or a combination of the two.

You may be able to tear down between 300 and 900 calories during an hour of mid- to high-intensity Zumba. Attending a Zumba Classes two or three times a week, coupled with weekly strength training sessions and a balanced diet, may help you obtain your weight loss goals.

Read on to learn how to include Zumba into a healthy weight loss plan.

What is Zumba?

It is a Latin inspired dance fitness class that regularly lasts between 60-90 minutes. Instructors usually begin with a very short warm-up and then go straight into the dance part. This is where you will be expected to burn calories to the tune of a mixture of Salsa and hip hop music. 

Don’t be scared if you’re not good at dancing. The majority of Zumba classes usually happens in a disco-like environment, with strobe lights and all. Plus, you can take comfort in the law of physics that everyone seems silly when they dance.

If you don’t seem comfortable dancing around in the presence of strangers, you can always try the Wii Zumba Fitness game.

How many calories can you burn with an hour of Zumba?

A research in 2012 observed 19 healthy females, aged 18-22 years old who joined Zumba sessions. And they were able to burn an average of 9.5 calories per minute during a 39-minute class. That calculated up to an average of 369 calories total in about 40 minutes. That was more calories burned than consuming the same amount of time doing step aerobics, kickboxing, or power yoga.

The amount of calories you’ll burn during Zumba depends on several factors, includes:

  • age
  • weight
  • the current level of physical fitness
  • genetics
  • intensity during workout

If you want to boost the number of calories burned during Zumba, increasing the workout’s intensity can help. Wearing a heart rate monitor can help you verify that you are working between 55 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

You may also tear more calories and fat by engaging in a Zumba variation class, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) Zumba. Or try a Zumba strength class that incorporates weights.

While a calorie deficit is essential for weight loss, it’s necessary to consume enough calories to keep you energized.

Dropping weight too quickly can be dangerous for your health. To keep your energy up, have a healthy diet full of lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and fruit.

How many calories do you need?

Unless directed by your doctor, healthy women should never consume less than 1,200 calories per day. And healthy men shouldn’t consume less than 1,500 calories per day.

If you’re tearing extra calories through exercise, aim to consume enough calories. That way, the calories you’re taking in minus the calories you’re burning still equal 1,200 (women) or 1,500 (men) calories or more.

For example, if you burn 300 calories in a Zumba class, aim to consume at least 1,500 calories if you’re a woman and 1,800 calories if you’re a man.

How often should you do Zumba to lose weight?

How often you’ll need to engage in Zumba to lose weight relies on your health and fitness goals. Overall, the American Council on Exercise suggests burning 300 to 400 calories per workout session for a minimum of three days a week.

Also, keep in mind that your body quickly adapts to exercise. Opt to alternate Zumba with other sorts of cardiovascular exercise like jogging, swimming, and power walking.

And on days when you don’t practice Zumba, try to consider strength training. Benefits of strength training may incorporate toning up and losing body fat faster. Keeping your body challenged is essential for continuing to lose weight.

Your diet will also be an essential factor in weight loss. To drop one pound per week, you’re required to consume 500 more calories per day than you take in. A pound of fat is about equal to 3,500 calories, so it’s estimated that you need to burn 3,500 calories to drop a pound, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Try working with a nutritionist on a healthy weight loss plan if you need help figuring out your daily diet.

Tips for weight loss with Zumba

Engaging in Zumba classes implies that you’ll be getting plenty of cardiovascular exercises. To reach your weight loss goals, you’ll also want to eat a healthy diet.

  • Pack your plate each day with whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats.
  • Evade empty carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and cookies.
  • Eat lots of lean protein such as chicken, fish, egg whites, and tofu.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to each meal.
  • Eating every three hours or so will help keep your energy boosted. Just make sure that you’re choosing to eat healthy snacks. For example, an apple with nut butter, string cheese, or a Lara or RX bar can help you feel energized without spending a lot of empty calories.

Dropping one to two pounds per week with a well-balanced diet and exercise routine is reflected as a healthy goal.

How to do Zumba

In the past decade, Zumba has grown in popularity around the world. Now, most gyms offer a Zumba class many times a week. You can also find Zumba at your local community center or in any YMCA near you.

If you can’t find any Zumba classes in your area or prefer to do your workout at home, try looking for some online activities. There are many Zumba videos for beginners online and Zumba for weight loss and Zumba full-body toning.

These workouts don’t require a lot of equipment. It only requires lightweight clothing, sneakers, and an optional set of one- or three-pound dumbbells.

Reasons Why You Should Do Zumba for Weight Loss

Zumba doesn’t feel like a workout

Zumba is like a party. It has high energy, pumping music, and packed with fun dance moves. If you like to dance even a small bit, you’ll like Zumba. It’s fun, it’s loud, and you’re going to be digging yourself so much you won’t even know you’re burning calories.

Zumba burns tons of calories

But speaking of calories, you’re going to be blazing a lot of them. Researchers estimated that you could burn as much as 800 calories in one class! You’d have to employ a lot of time on the treadmill to match that. Zumba is essentially a cardio class, but it also includes some strength moves.

You’ll feel sexy

Zumba fuses Latin-style dances like Salsa, merengue, and tango, so fundamentally, you’re going to be moving your hips a lot. And while it may seem a little uncomfortable at first, as soon as you lose your inhibitions, you’ll feel sexy and free. And with your newfound sex appeal, you’ll earn tons of self-confidence.

Zumba isn’t too difficult

Zumba can be intimidating incredibly to newcomers, but it’s a lot easier than it looks. Most Zumba routines include the same moves once you’ve done them a few times, so you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Plus, the more frequently you come, the better you’ll get. 

Many instructors also allow you to transform some of the more challenging moves as well. So it doesn’t matter what fitness level you’re at; you can do Zumba for weight loss and make it work for you.

You’ll make new friends

Zumba is its community, and when you’re all having fun together, you’re wrapped to make a few friends. It’s nice to be friendly with the regulars at any Zumba class. And you’ll also find it fun to see the same people every week and have a good time dancing your asses off together.

It’s a full-body workout

Created as a combination of Salsa and aerobics, there’s no right or wrong way in performing Zumba. As long as you jive to the beat of the music, you’re engaging in the exercise.

And since Zumba requires movement of the whole body, you’ll obtain a full-body workout that doesn’t even feel like a workout.

You’ll build endurance

Since the music played during a Zumba class is pretty much fast-paced, moving to the beat can help develop your endurance.

One research found that after 12 weeks of a Zumba class, participants presented a reduced heart rate and systolic blood pressure. These trends correspond with an improvement in endurance.

You’ll improve cardiovascular fitness

According to the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, individuals who wish to develop their cardiovascular fitness should exercise using any of these parameters:

  • 64 and 94 percent of the participant’s HRmax, a measure of an athlete’s maximum heart rate
  • 40 to 85 percent of the participant’s VO2 max, a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use

According to the same research, all participants of a Zumba session submitted within these HRmax and VO2 max guidelines. They were performing at an average of 79 percent of HRmax and 66 percent of VO2 max. 

This means that Zumba can be an effective workout in increasing aerobic capacity, which measures cardiovascular fitness.

Improved blood pressure

A 2016 study of a group of overweight women who participated in a 12-week Zumba program saw a drop in blood pressure and body weight.

Another 2015 study found a reduction in participants’ blood pressure after a total of just 17 Zumba classes.

It can increase your pain threshold

Want to get tough? Try Zumba! A 2016 study showed that after a 12-week Zumba class, participants had seen a drop in pain severity and discomfort interference.

You can improve your quality of life

An efficient Zumba program gives not only health benefits but also the social benefits of a group workout. People can enjoy an enhanced quality of life with these combined perks.

So, who’s ready to dance? Try a Zumba class at your local gym today.

The problems with Zumba for weight loss

Not all classes are evenly intense

You may be getting much less of a workout than other Zumba participants.

You may have done it a handful of times, and you may find yourself not a massive fan of it, but it’s still an excellent way to break up the monotony of the gym. 

Several instructors (and different gyms) have various class formats, songs, and dances. This leads to altering intensity levels when it comes to energy expenditure.

In short, you can be in some classes where you could break a sweat in an hour and a half and could get your heart rate up. It will feel like a workout, which makes it fun.

By the majority of the times you’ve tried it, however, you’ll find that you haven’t broken a sweat after 90 minutes of dancing.

If you’re trying to drop weight with the dance classes, be mindful of how challenging it is for your fitness level. If the Zumba classes you’re taking don’t get your heart rate up and you don’t feel challenged at the same time, don’t expect to start losing weight. 

It is a great starting place for those fresh to working out. But you may require something more intense as you get more fit, depending on the intensity of the class.

Zumba does NOT burn 1000 calories an hour

Zumba has earned a cult-like following because it’s fun and an exercise at the same time. It can be challenging to find those two things together.

It has such fanatics because of the claims that it does when it comes to weight loss. This is due partly to the supposed sky-high number of calories that it uses. There are hundreds of studies on the web right now discussing how many calories Zumba burns. The typical answer leads people to believe that it uses about 600-1000 calories an hour.

There’s no way Zumba burns 1000 calories an hour! If that were the fact, then weight loss and staying in shape would be so easy!

There’s no strength training component to Zumba

Strength training is essential for many reasons. One, a toned body can burn more calories at rest. It also limits bone density loss, decreases chances of injury, and enhances posture and joint health. 

If you want to use it for dropping extra pounds, make sure to include a strength training component. That way, you will likely see that you lose weight faster.

Zumba can be a fun way to fit in aerobic exercise each week and help you reach your weight loss goals. Fuse Zumba with strength training and a healthy diet for the best results. Just remember to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness method.

Categories
Exercise Fat Loss Weight Loss

Walking for Weight Loss: Is it Enough?

If you want to stay fit and healthy, it’s essential to exercise regularly.

That’s because being physically active lowers your risk of developing health conditions. This includes heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Besides helping you live a longer and healthier life, exercise can also aid weight loss and maintenance. Fortunately, walking is also a great form of free, low-risk physical activity and accessible to most people.

It’s good for you and one of the most accessible forms of exercise to include in your day-to-day life.

The Benefits of Walking

Walking Burns Calories

Your body demands energy (in the form of calories) for all the complex chemical reactions that allow you to move, breathe, and think.

However, regular calorie needs vary from person to person and are affected by things like your weight, sex, genes, and activity level.

It’s well known that you need to burn more calories than you absorb to lose weight.

Furthermore, people who are more physically active can burn more calories.

However, modern living and work environments show that you spend large parts of your day sitting, especially if you have an office job.

Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle makes you susceptible to weight gain and health risks.

Trying to get more exercise by walking more often can help you burn more calories and subdue these risks.

Walking a mile (1.6 km) burns roughly 100 calories, depending on your gender and weight.

One research measured the number of calories burned by non-athletes who walked at a brisk pace of 3.2 miles (5 km) per hour or ran at a speed of 6 mph for about a mile. It discovered those who walked at a brisk pace burned an average of 90 calories per mile.

And although running burned significantly more calories, it only burned around 23 more calories per mile, on average. This indicates that both forms of exercise contributed substantially to the number of calories burned.

To enhance your walk’s intensity and burn even more calories, try walking on routes with hills or slight inclines.

It Helps Preserve Lean Muscle

When people burn calories and lose weight, they often lose some muscle in addition to body fat.

This can be counterproductive, as muscle is more metabolically dynamic than fat. This implies it helps you burn more calories each day.

Exercise, including walking, can help counter this outcome by preserving lean muscle when you lose weight.

This can help lessen the drop in metabolic rate that often occurs with weight loss, making your results easier to maintain.

What’s more, it can also decrease age-related muscle loss, helping you retain more of your muscle strength and function.

Walking Burns Belly Fat

Storing many fats around your midsection has been connected to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Men with a waist circumference larger than 40 inches (102 cm) and women with a waist circumference larger than 35 inches (88 cm) have abdominal obesity.

One of the most efficient ways to reduce belly fat is to participate in aerobic exercises, such as walking regularly.

In one small research, obese women who walked for 50–70 minutes three times per week for 12 weeks decreased their waist circumference by 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) and lost 1.5% of their body fat.

Another research found that people on a calorie-controlled diet who walked for one hour, five times per week for 12 weeks, lost an extra 1.5 inches (3.7 cm) off their waistlines and 1.3% more body fat.

Other studies have observed similar results.

It Improves Your Mood

Exercise is known to develop your mood.

Physical activity has been shown to develop your mood and decrease stress, depression, and anxiety.

It does this by creating your brain more sensitive to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine. These hormones reduce feelings of depression and stimulate the release of endorphins, which make you feel happy.

This is a great advantage in itself. However, experiencing enhancement in the mood when you walk regularly might also make the habit easier to keep up with.

What’s more, some researchers have found that if you enjoy physical activity, it can increase the likelihood that you will continue to do it.

People tend to exercise less if they don’t enjoy it, which can be the effect of the exercise being too physically demanding.

This makes walking a great choice, as it’s a moderate-intensity exercise. That’s likely to drive you to walk more rather than give up.

Walking Can Help You Keep Weight Off

Several people who lose weight end up gaining it all back.

However, regular exercise plays an essential role in helping you.

Daily exercise, like walking, does not only help boost the amount of energy you burn day-to-day. It also enables you to develop more lean muscle to burn more calories, even at rest.

Furthermore, engaging in a regular, moderate-intensity exercise can enhance your mood. It makes you more likely to stay active in the long term.

A recent study estimated that you should walk at least 150 minutes per week to maintain a stable weight.

However, if you’ve lost a lot of weight, you may still need to exercise more than 200 minutes per week to restrict yourself from regaining it.

Researchers have found that people who exercise are usually the most successful at keeping their weight loss. Meanwhile, people who exercise the least are likely to regain the weight.

Incorporating more walking into your day can help you build the amount of exercise you do and add towards your daily activity goals.

How Long Should My Daily Walk be for Weight Loss

Aim for a brisk walk of 30 to 90 minutes for most of the days of your week for weight loss. You can do walking exercises for more on some days and less on others, but the total time for the week should be at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours).

You should walk fast enough to be in the moderate-intensity activity zone at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You should be breathing harder than usual and speak in full sentences, but not sing. You can use your heart rate and practice zone reading from a fitness band, app, or heart rate monitor. This is to ensure you are exercising at moderate intensity.

While you can split up your walking time into periods of 10 minutes or longer, you get an added advantage of burning fat when you walk at a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes.

If you’re new to walking, get started with a shorter walking duration, and steadily build up your walking time. You might want to take long walks every other day in the beginning.

Try not to skip two consecutive days. Consistency is good for burning calories and enhancing your metabolism, as well as for creating new habits. On your non-walking days, try to do some strength training exercises. If you’re exhausted, take a rest for today and get back to walking tomorrow.

If you’re working on keeping your weight, the CDC suggests that you spend 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity while limiting your calorie intake.

What If You Can’t Walk for 30 Minutes at a Time?

Life can be busy. If your schedule doesn’t allow walking continuously for 30 minutes, split it into brisk walking two or three times a day for at least 10 minutes.

Always warm-up for five minutes at a slow pace no matter what duration you will be walking. You can use higher-intensity periods, stairs, and brisk walking to get the most out of shorter walking workouts.

According to 2017 research, high-intensity intervals are as good as constant moderate-intensity workouts. And it can be an excellent way to fit exercise into your day.

Calories and Fat Burned in 30 Minutes

At a brisk walking speed, you would burn 100 to 300 calories in 30 minutes (depending on the person’s weight) or 200 to 600 calories in an hour. By walking for 30 minutes or more at a time, some of those calories will come from stored fat.

During the first 30 minutes of your exercise, your body is burning sugars stored as fuel. These are used up after about 30 minutes. To get your body going, your body delivers fat from your fat cells and burns it for energy.

This stored fat is exactly what you want to lose, and it’s an excellent basis to build up your walking stamina so you can walk for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Weight Loss Workout Plan

You can use this sample schedule and adjust the days as needed. This workout plan is best for those who don’t want to accelerate their speed and enjoy long walks. The time listed is at your objective heart rate and pace after warming up.

You can break up the long walks into multiple shorter walks if your schedule won’t permit you.

  • Sunday: Long walking exercise with 60 minutes at a brisk pace
  • Monday: Day off with no walking workout, but you can still enjoy strolls.
  • Tuesday: Short walking exercise with 30 minutes at a fast pace, plus a strength training workout
  • Wednesday: Short walking exercise with 30 minutes at a rapid pace
  • Thursday: A prolonged walking exercise of 60 minutes at a brisk pace
  • Friday: Short walking exercise with 30 minutes at a brisk pace, plus a strength training workout.
  • Saturday: A long easy walking day with 30 minutes at a fast pace, then 30 to 90 more minutes at a leisurely pace.

While the number of calories you burn relies on your weight and the distance you walk, this plan can burn 2000 calories per week for an average walker.

Walking Workouts for Weight Loss

A brisk pace is a state where you breathe harder than usual, and your heart rate is at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can monitor your heart rate by taking your pulse.

Short Walking Workout

  • Warm-up at a leisurely pace for three to five minutes.
  • Speed up to a brisk walk at the objective pace for 30 minutes.
  • Walk at a slow to a comfortable pace for three to five minutes.
  • You may want to do a mild stretching routine after your warm-up or after you finish your walk.

Very​ Short Walking Workout

If you don’t have enough time for a sustained walk, find the time to take two to four 15-minute walks. Your time at a brisk pace for the day should continue to at least 30 minutes.

  • Warm-up at a leisurely pace within one to three minutes.
  • Accelerate to a brisk pace for at least 10 minutes.
  • Walk at a slow to a comfortable pace for one to three minutes.

Long Walking Workout

  • Warm-up within five minutes at a leisurely pace.
  • Do a brisk walking pace for 60 minutes.
  • Walk at a slow to a comfortable pace for five minutes.

Long Easy Walking Workout

You can spice up this workout by engaging in a local charity walk or joining a walking group or club for their workouts.

  • Do a warm-up for five minutes at a leisurely pace.
  • Start walking at the target brisk walking pace for 30 minutes.
  • Walk at a slow to a comfortable pace for an additional 30 to 90 minutes.

Days Off

When you are walking for weight loss, you should take no more than two days off weekly. You can still enjoy strolls on your day off, and you would want to ensure you aren’t sitting for long periods.

Tips before you start your walking exercise

Choose the right shoes

The only “equipment” necessary for walking are decent pairs of shoes. Unless you’re walking on the beach, chances are you have a pair suitable for the job already.

“Walking shoes” have flexible soles and stiff heel counters to limit side-to-side motion. Normal flat surfaces only need low-heeled shoes that are comfortable, cushioned, and lightweight.

Devise a great walking playlist

Before you even think about tying up your sneakers, think of the songs you want to hear as you make strides towards a fitter you.

Having a great soundtrack to your walk will drive you to push harder and go farther. And the best part is that you probably won’t even notice the extra effort that you end up putting in.

Look for songs that are between 75 to 130 BPM. These tempos will help you synchronize your strut to the beat.

Know your route

It’s good to have a clear knowledge of where you’ll be walking on any given day.

You’ll feel comfortable and confident knowing what to expect. It also prevents you from wasting any walking time, figuring out a route on the fly.

Try and devise a handful of routes that range in length, grade, and terrain. Just a couple of route choices can prevent your new belly blasting habit from getting repetitive.

Find a walking buddy

Numerous studies prove that having a strong support group is vital to achieving and maintaining weight loss success.

Be prepared for weather conditions

We don’t all live in San Diego, which means that we have to deal with a changing climate.

Don’t let a run of hot, cold, wet, windy, or icy weather stop you from walking off your belly. Get yourself kitted out with the proper clothing for the sorts of weather your area can get in a given year.

During a heatwave, walk before the sun gets too high in the sky. During a cold snap, do the opposite. A fair-weather walker in Seattle or Fargo will miss out on a lot of belly blasting moments.

Keep a walking journal

Keeping a journal has been shown to increase the effectiveness of a walking program by 47 percent.

Here are some of the things you should track:

  • Days that you did your walking routine
  • Time of day or night that you performed your walking routine
  • Distance and time you finished each walking routine
  • Your walking course
  • Your weekly weight

Walk in daylight to eat less

Get some of that sunshine or even daylight on your walk. Why?

A study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology explained that sleep-deprived adults who were exposed to dim light after waking had lower concentrations of leptin. It is a hormone that tells you are full.

By letting some light in, you’ll get your desired weight loss results.

Walk briskly

Walk like you’re at the airport, and you’ve cut it close for your flight.

If you’re 150 pounds walking briskly (around 3.5 miles per hour) will burn about 300 calories every 60 minutes. If you can fit in 30 minutes of brisk walking on a flat surface each day, you’ll have burned off 1,050 calories by the end of the week.

Studies reveal that this sort of weekly calorie expenditure helps protect against heart disease. And you’ll probably notice that you look and feel different soon.

But also vary your walking pace

Engineering researchers have found that walking at alternating speeds can burn up to 20 percent more calories than keeping a steady pace.

The 2015 study from Ohio State University is one of the first to measure the metabolic cost, calories burned, and varying walking speeds. While walking briskly for 30 minutes is a great idea to try and work in a few minutes to accelerate and decelerate your brisk walk.

Vary the terrain

As well as changing your speed, a great way to burn more belly fat is to switch up the surface you’re walking on.

Walking on grass or gravel burns more calories than walking on a track. Meanwhile, walking on soft sand raises caloric expenditure by almost 50 percent, given that you can keep your pace the same.

Final Thoughts

You might be able to lose weight through walking, depending on its range and intensity and your diet.

A blend of physical activity and dietary changes seems to improve weight loss more effectively than exercise alone. Physical activity, such as walking, is also essential for weight control because it helps you burn calories.

If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day. Of course, the more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you’ll burn.

However, balance is still important. Overdoing it can raise your risk of soreness, injury, and burnout. If you’re new to daily exercise and physical activity, you may need to start with short walks or walking at a light intensity. And then build your pace to longer walks with moderate or vigorous intensity.

Once you’ve lost weight, exercise is even more critical for maintenance. So keep walking, but make sure you also eat a healthy diet.

Categories
Exercise

Losing Weight on Swimming + Tips

When it comes to exercises that can help you lose weight, swimming probably isn’t at the top of your list.

Running, yes. Strength training, definitely. But swimming?

Is splashing around really a serious fat burner?

According to Stacy Caprio, a former swim coach and Red Cross water safety instructor, “Swimming is one of the most agreeable activities you can do to tone and slim your entire body.”

You use your arms and legs to stay afloat and your back muscles to get you moving. Plus, if you’re burnt out on other cardio forms like walking or jogging, swimming can be a welcome diversion.

Best of all, you don’t have to do a Michael Phelps-style training routine to reap the benefits.

It is not surprising that weight loss is the common reason people swim, run, walk, or cycle. Different exercises have a different impact on our waistline. But there are some popular myths when it comes to losing weight while swimming.

So let’s start this post by giving you more ideas, scientific results, and reasons for those myths about swimming.

How swimming can help you lose weight

Like all kinds of cardiovascular exercise, swimming burns calories and can help you lose weight. But unlike, say, walking or jogging, moving through the water generates added resistance, forcing you to use your muscles more.

“Swimming tones your upper body, lower body, and core at the same time, providing you a full-body workout and more overall muscle definition versus other cardio activities like running,” says Caprio.

In some cases, the breaststroke and butterfly work your shoulders, arms, and chest. Meanwhile, the backstroke increases your back, abs, and quads’ strength.

And by building more muscles, you’re also burning more calories.

Just 30 minutes of swimming the breaststroke can burn around 367 calories, and you can get up to 404 calories through freestyle. Compare that to 100 calories for 30 minutes of brisk walking or 300 calories for 30 minutes of running at 6 miles per hour.

Another benefit? It doesn’t take long to reap the fat-burning advantages of swimming.

Study shows that middle-aged women who swam for 60 minutes three times a week lost a significant amount of body fat in just 12 weeks. They also increased their endurance, improved their flexibility, and even lowered their cholesterol.

Australian researcher Kay Cox in 2010 has researched a group of inactive healthy women. One group began swimming, and the other walking with the same intensity confirmed by a heart rate monitor. After a year, average swimmers have lost 1.1kg more than the group that has done walking.

How much do you have to swim to lose weight?

It all depends on how hard your workout is.

Swimming vigorously for an hour can burn around 800 calories. Try doing that four times a week, and you could lose three to four pounds in a month.

Remember: You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound.

Prefer a less intense procedure? Swimming at a moderate speed for 30 minutes burns around 250 calories. Do that four times a week, and in a month, you’ll surely lose a little more than a pound.

But everybody is different, and research says that some people can lose more or less weight than others.

However, doing exercises like swimming a part of your routine can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. If you’re trying to shed pounds, consider aiming to do moderate or vigorous exercises like swimming for around an hour a day.

Can swimming help you lose belly fat?

Remember, any exercise that burns calories will help you shed fat all over—including around your middle. Specific swimming exercises also target your core like flutter kicks (lower abs) and butterfly kicks (obliques).

A 2015 study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that women who swam three times a week dropped more fat around their waists and hips than those who walked three times a week.

Another big profit: Water-based workouts are low-impact, so they manage to be easier on your hips, knees, and feet.

A common myth about swimming

Many children were instructed not to swim 30 to 60 minutes after eating. It was thought that some blood would redirect to the stomach after eating to aid with digestion and divert blood away from the arms and legs.

Some concluded that blood leaving the limbs would cause arms and legs to tire easily, increasing the risk of drowning.

But while a common belief, there doesn’t seem to be any scientific basis for this recommendation.

Some people may exhibit stomach cramps after swimming on a full belly, but this isn’t anything serious or dangerous.

What does a swimming workout look like?

There are swimming exercises for every level, but here’s what a beginner’s time in the water may look like:

Beginner swim workout: 500 yards

Warmup

  • 4 x 25 yards, 40 seconds rest in between
  • 2 x 25 yards butterfly with 2 strokes right and 2 strokes left arm
  • 2 x 25 yards backstroke with 2 strokes right and 2 strokes left arm
  • 2 x 25 yards breaststroke with 1 stroke and 2 kicks
  • 2 x 25 yards freestyle stroke catchup (keep one arm outstretched while the other strokes and meets the hand on the opposite arm)

Do two sets of the following, making a faster interval for the second set (or taking less rest).

  • 1 x 50 yards
  • 2 x 25 yards

Tips to get the most out of your swimming workout

Swimming for exercise might be a little intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but getting ignited is easy. At the same time, there are some things you have to keep in mind if you want to make it as effective as possible. Here are some expert tips:

Get a kickboard

Tight hips can make kicking feel challenging and even uncomfortable. But you can loosen up and increase your range of motion by doing laps with a kickboard.

What stroke should you use?

The butterfly stroke surprisingly burns the most calories. So much so that you can burn even 150 calories in 10 minutes.

As you might know, this demands some swimming skills and most of us would have difficulty swimming with that stroke for 10 minutes. That’s why we suggest the next best thing, which is freestyle.

It is much easier to learn and swim with, and it is still a great choice if you want to lose some unwanted weight.

Breaststroke and freestyle are the easiest to master, so they manage to work well for beginners. Once you get those down, you can try with more challenging ones like backstroke or butterfly.

Do interval training

To maximize calorie burn, we also suggest swimming using the interval training program. It can be as simple as swimming as fast as you can for a lap and then one lap in a more relaxed. This can increase the fat burning process, and runners and cyclists widely use this logic with excellent results.

Intervals are a great way to improve the intensity of your workout and burn more calories. Try going hard and fast for one lap and recovering at a slower speed for two laps, repeating as desired.

Check your breathing

The wrong breathing technique will make it difficult for you to get into the rhythm, and it may exhaust you quicker. Try practicing turning your head so you can take a breath from your mouth without actually lifting your head out of the water.

After-workout appetite

Swimmer’s after workout appetite is legendary, and there were numbers of memes created on the subject.

Coldwater and an incredible amount of energy that swimming uses is the cause we are so hungry after a solid swimming training sessions. It might also be the destruction of your plan to lose a few pounds as you can simply overeat after swimming.

That is why it is crucial to plan your diet properly for your training days, so you don’t waste all your hard work and effort.

With any weight loss plan, you must burn more calories than you take in; swimming is no exception.

If you’re feeling hungrier, we suggest eating more veggies, grabbing a protein shake, and staying away from snacking.

Keep in mind the calories you should burn

To lose one pound, you need to burn around 3500 calories. Moreover, trainers and physicians agree that a combination of diet and exercise is the perfect way to get results faster.

It is also suggested that you swim at least 2.5 hours every week when losing weight, and an hour after that to keep the weight.

To burn 3500 calories indicates you need to swim for about 7 hours, so it is an achievable monthly goal for most of us. So don’t give up and be consistent, and the success will come for sure.

So how many calories you can burn per hour? That depends on your weight and your swimming skills.

But on average, a 154-pound person burns around 500 calories per hour of swimming. Meanwhile, a 200-pound person will burn over 630 calories per hour of swimming.

So this is good news for those who are a bit heavier as they will start to see the results faster, and it might be an excellent way to stay motivated and keep at it!

Swim before breakfast

A morning swim isn’t feasible for everyone, but it’s worth trying if you can have access to a pool before work.

Waking up in the morning and going for your swim will leave your body in a fasted state. This means that your body will use fat stores as an energy source.

Keep in mind that swimming isn’t only an excellent cardio method, but it’s a full-body workout as well.

Swim harder and faster

Swimming burns a lot of calories when you’re just beginning. But as your swimming skills develop and become more efficient, your heart rate doesn’t rise as much.

The answer is to swim harder and faster to keep your heart rate up.

Wear a waterproof fitness tracker to check your heart rate while swimming. During a moderate-intensity workout, your target heart rate should be about 50 to 70 percent of your highest heart rate.

You can determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.

Take a swim class

Learning proper stroke techniques can help you swim at a reasonable pace. Contact a community center or YMCA for information on swim lessons, or enroll for a class through the American Red Cross.

Switch up your swim routine

If you swim at the same speed and use the same routine repeatedly, your body may eventually hit a plateau.

Stepping outside your comfort zone and changing your routine is a great way to utilize different muscle groups. And doing so helps you maximize your results.

Swim four to five days a week

To lose weight, the more physically dynamic you are, the better. This involves whether you’re jogging, walking, using cardio equipment, or swimming.

The rate of swimming for weight loss is the same as other cardiovascular exercises. So aim for four to five days a week for the best outcomes.

Alternate swimming with water aerobics

You don’t have to swim every day to see results. Take a water aerobics session on your off days. This is a great low-stress exercise to keep moving on active recovery days.

Use water weights

If you’re swimming to reduce weight and tone up, do a few bicep curls with water dumbbells in between laps. The water produces resistance, which can help build strength and endurance.

If you’re not a fan of the gym or can’t engage in several activities due to joint pain, swimming is an excellent way to get into shape. It’s a great workout for losing weight, improving muscle tone, and strengthening your heart.