The Only Bad Workout is the One That Doesn't Happen!
Exercise is key to good health and goes hand and hand with any sort of weight loss journey. They say abs are made in the kitchen. However, combined with multiple types of exercises, that is when you can truly hit your goals. The hard part is...How do you find exercise you like? How do you find the time? and how do you stick to it?
For me, finding exercise I liked and sticking to an exercise regimen was the hardest part. Time and time again, I would go to the gym, try different classes, pay for personal trainers, and every time something would come up and I would fall off the workout bandwagon. Then finally in 2011, I tried my first Zumba class and it was love at first try.
After taking Zumba classes for 3 years, I decided to get my Zumba license so I could share my passion of dance fitness with others and help others like me reach their goals. Fast forward 7 years and I have been teaching ever since and currently teach at Empowered Fitness on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6pm. I also teach Zumba Gold on Saturday mornings 9am at Holistic Therapies for Life located in Beverly. Finding something I truly loved to do at the gym was exactly what I needed to be motivated to go. I was finally sticking to something that was helping me towards me weight loss goals.
Today, I find myself in a position where I have been doing cardio exercise like Zumba for so long that my body is used to it. I have learned through training with Nikki that my body needs other types of exercise as well as cardio in order to reach my goals.
Nowadays, I have incorporated many different styles of exercise into my daily routine. I can actually say that at 30 years old, I workout every day. I have never been able to say that before. I do Zumba 3 times a week, weight train (as well as other kinds of workouts) with Nikki 2-3 times a week, participate in yoga and stretching frequently, and play softball on Sunday mornings. If you are anything like me, it takes time and dedication to work everything into your schedule. I do stress the fact that working out should be fun, but I have to admit.... it is not all fun and games. I can vouge that once you get into the swing working out, the harder workouts come easier. Before you know it, you are busting you butt in the gym doing things you would never have thought were possible. CONSISTANCY IS KEY!!!
To help, especially if you are new to exercise, I made a list of the main categories of exercise that you want to try to work into your schedule. I also included why these are important. Remember, its easier to start small (choose one) and add as you go.
The most popular type of exercise out there. Cardio is also one area of exercise that offers limitless kinds of workouts: walking, running, cycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, dancing, you get the idea. Basically, anything that elevates your heart rate to a level above your resting heart rate is considered cardio. Cardio/aerobic exercise is important for many body functions. It gives your heart and lungs a workout and increases endurance. Aerobic exercise also helps relax blood vessel walls, lower blood pressure, burn body fat, lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and boost mood.
Weight lifting builds back lost muscle mass. Strengthening your muscles not only makes you stronger, but also stimulates bone growth, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control, improves balance and posture, and reduces stress and pain in the lower back and joints. This type of workout will likely include body weight exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges, and exercises involving resistance from a weight, a band, or a weight machine. Remember, it's important to feel some muscle fatigue at the end of the exercise to make sure you are working or training the muscle group effectively.
Stretching and flexibility go hand and hand. In fact, stretching is what improves flexibility. As we get older, people lose the flexibility in the muscles and tendons. When muscles shorten and don't function properly, it increases the risk for muscle cramps and pain, muscle damage, strains, joint pain, and falling. Likewise, stretching the muscles routinely makes them longer and more flexible, which increases your range of motion and reduces pain and the risk for injury. Aim for a stretching every day or at least three or four times per week no matter how old you are. It is important to incorporate this into your routine at a young age so it becomes second nature. Before and after any workout, always warm up your muscles first with a few stretches. That gets blood and oxygen to muscles, and makes them amenable to change. Some muscles to keep in mind for stretching are calves, the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, and the muscles of the shoulders, neck, and lower back.
Balance exercise makes you feel steadier on your feet and helps prevent falls. It's never too early to start this type of exercise, even if you feel you don't have balance problems. While it is important to work on balance at any age, it's especially important as we get older. Typical balance exercises include standing on one foot or walking heel to toe, with your eyes open or closed. Their is also some movements that focus on joint flexibility like walking on uneven surfaces and strengthening leg muscles with exercises such as squats and leg lifts. By incorporating some coordination exercises into your daily routine, you can begin to improve multiple aspects of your wellbeing. Not only can coordination training help you improve your technique and form during exercise, but it could also positively affect your mood and mental health.
Any Kind of Sports
Participating in sports basically combines all types of exercise. Of course, this depends on what type of sport you are involved with. However, which ever one you choose is a great one. With a whole fitness industry built on goal-oriented workouts tailored to individuals looking to lose weight, get healthy or lean — the simple act of playing a sport can often be overlooked. Sports can go a long way in motivating and keeping you physically active, especially later in life. Sports can be that FUN you are looking for. Team sports like hockey, basketball and soccer are amazing outlets that balance quality high-intensity training while throwing a ton of fun and a social element into the mix. You can also choose lower impact sports such as swimming or golf and still get some benefits from staying active. My sport of choice is Softball. I grew up playing and now as an adult I play in a women's league. Although it may not be as intense or competitive as it was back in the day, playing still gives me the same joy!
Now you’ve got the lowdown on the importance of including different types of workouts into your routine and why they are important, here are my closing thoughts... Everyone has to start somewhere. The first step is finding something you like which will help you get motivated. Once you do that, it is important to switch it up with different types of exercise to always keep the body guessing and improving. Someone once told me to think of your body as a finely tuned machine, and just like machines they need to be maintained in a variety of ways. At the end of the day, just MOVE your body. We were not made to be stationary. Even walking more can impact your overall health and fitness. I leave you with a picture of my dog, who is not only my pride and joy, but also a motivator to get moving as she loves walks more than anything. Between me, my dog Vivian, and yourself, there is nothing we can't do!
Don't forget to share your thoughts, ideas, beliefs, education, and walking buddies!
With All My Love,