Fitness is one of the largest growing industries today. When choosing which program best fits your life and your desired outcome, it is important to look at these four aspects of a fitness routine:
Endurance: These activities are designed to increase your heart rate and breathing for extended periods. Gradually build up endurance exercises over a period of time, initially starting out with as little as 5 minutes. Examples of endurance exercises include briskly walking, cycling, long-distance running, aerobics, and may even include mopping or scrubbing a floor, and mowing or raking the lawn. Dancing is another fun and fantastic endurance exercise. A very popular form of endurance exercise right now is the tabata-style training often used in 30-minute boot camps, where endurance exercises are mixed with strength training.
Strength training: Increasing your strength can improve and maintain your mobility, control your weight, prevent osteoporosis, and sculpt a muscular body. Developing strong muscles and connective tissues also take the weight off your joints, allowing the muscles to hold up your body and prevent injury. Lifting weights is one of the easiest and fastest ways to build muscle. Martial arts are another form of strength training exercises. If you’re looking to have a leaner look with strong muscles, consider pilates.
Flexibility: Increasing your flexibility will help “loosen” you up and allow you to move more freely. One great way to prevent injury and aid performance is to do stretching exercises before and after endurance and strength training. Yoga and gentle stretching fall within this category. The popular Barre method is another example that builds flexibility but also strength and endurance.
Balance: More and more, people are seeking balance exercises to reduce stress and harmonize body, mind and spirit. Tai Chi, Qi Gong and certain forms of yoga are exercises designed to maintain balance in the body while cultivating Qi energy that can keep you strong and healthy.
Especially for the Ladies: An aspect to consider for women and their exercise routine is to be aware of the hormonal changes that happen monthly with menstruation. By following the suggestions written in this article, your workouts can work with your body. Paying attention to the natural ebbs and flows of your energy allows your cycle to progress smoothly each month and prevents common PMS symptoms that often accompanies a woman's menstrual cycle.
A general rule of thumb is to include all 4 types of exercises each week to make sure you get the benefits of all of them. Work out every day, even for 20 minutes, instead of being a weekend warrior and doing a workout blast of 120-240 minutes that makes you more prone to injury.
Talk to a qualified professional before you start an exercise routine to best determine what exercises will be most effective in reaching your desired outcome of a healthy, balanced body.
Acupuncture and Exercise? Of Course! Consider acupuncture for both performance enhancement (identifying the underlying conditions that may predispose an individual to injuries) and for treating sports-related injuries effectively. Remember, acupuncture can be introduced at any phase of a treatment regimen for an injury. A subset of Chinese Medicine was born to treat the myriads of injuries that occurred during martial arts training and fighting. We have multiple techniques at our disposal that include acupuncture, internal herbs, external topicals, tuina, cupping and moxa that will effectively treat injuries big and small. Though written for injuries occurring in children, this article I wrote is just as appropriate for sports injuries in adults. Chinese Medicine is safe, effective and natural.