This topic has an unlimited number of discussion points and we cannot talk about them all, so we are going to include a poll with the audio version of this post to allow folks to tell us about their favorite exercises and what they are doing to stay healthy. You can also comment on this blog and let us know your thoughts.
As I mentioned, there are innumerable exercise options and multiple ways to perform each. So, where should I start? Since I will be asking people to share their favorite exercises, how about I start by sharing the exercises I like the most? First of all, I like cardio exercises because I do them to my favorite music. I love to get my body moving to a good Christian or Gospel song. Secondly, I like to combine cardio with strength training exercises for a full body workout.
I would say my favorite cardio move is Skaters. There are multiple variations of this exercise that enable less advanced participants and more advanced participants to be in the same class. The normal move calls for tapping the opposite foot behind after doing a side hop with your knees slightly bent. A regression move calls for doing a side step instead of a hop. If you need to back off even more, you can stand taller with less of a bend in your knees. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a progression move calls for a deeper bend of the knee after the hop. For even more of a burn, hover the back foot and don’t let it touch the floor.
I would say my favorite strength move is bicep curls because there are so many different pieces of equipment you can use to work your biceps, including no equipment at all. Bicep curls are a simple move and if you clench your fists while moving slowly through the curl, you can begin to feel the heat in your biceps fairly quickly. To add resistance, you can use any of the following equipment: Resistance Tubes, Resistance bands, dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, stability balls, cable machines, and arm curl machines. There is a way that I use resistance bands that allow me to work my triceps on one arm while working my biceps on the other arm.
I think my favorite piece of equipment is the resistance tube. I like the resistance tubes because of the variable resistance options, the different placement options, and the different ways you can hold the handle. Transitioning the handles from one direction to another is effortless. You can also work multiple muscles using the resistance tubes, including biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, abs, back, and legs. Adding crunches to bicep curls can work your upper abs. Adding a side lean when doing side pulls can work your obliques. Adding small squats or lunges when doing shoulder presses can add resistance to leg work.
Things to Always Remember:
- Stay hydrated when you are working out. We recommend drinking 1-2 cups of water an hour before you work out, drink water during your workout to replenish liquid lost from sweating, and drink 2-3 cups of water after you finish your workout.
- Workout at your own pace. If you are in a group exercise class, do not try to keep up with other people. Know your body and move at your own pace. Your instructor should be providing regression and progression moves that benefit your exercise level. It is up to YOU to choose which level you are at.
- You should never feel PAIN during a workout. Tension, some discomfort, and muscle fatigue is expected, but slow down, back off, or even stop exercising if you start to feel pain. If it is a new pain, seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of the pain, you may need urgent medical care. If it is a pain you have experienced in the past, you should know what to do to move past it. Whatever you do, stop exercising until the pain subsides.
- Rest when you need to. Don’t feel like you need to over-exert yourself either on your own or in a group exercise class. This goes back to knowing your body and working at your own pace. You also do not need to workout every single day of the week. Take a day of rest so your body can recover from the strenuous activity you are putting it through. Notice I said take “a” day, not a couple of days, not a week. Do not take more than one day off per week because when you stop exercising for too long, you start to lose the progress you have made. Rest also refers to resting your muscles. If you are targeting specific muscles in your workout, do not work them out again in back-to-back days. Give your muscles time to recover. Essentially, when you are doing strength exercises and targeting a particular muscle group and working it until it is fatigued, you are tearing down your muscle and it needs time to repair itself. Switch up your exercise and focus on a different set of muscles the next day. If you feel up to it after one day, then you can repeat. However, if you don’t feel up to it, take one more day. 24-48 hours should be plenty of time for your muscles to recover. If that is not the case, you may need to speak to your primary care doctor to make sure you didn’t strain your muscle.
- Fatigue your muscles, not your whole body. It is dangerous to workout if your body is fatigued because you start to lose good form, which could result in injury. If you notice that you are not able to keep good form, it is time to modify or stop the exercise move. If you are doing a complex move and start to lose good form, back off and do a regression move that is less complex and strenuous. I will say it again! Know your body. Listen to your body. Don’t overly exert your body. Your workout should cause your heart rate to become elevated, but you should not feel so overly tired that you are about to pass out. Back off! You are doing too much!
I am going to stop here because I could go on and on about fitness and exercising. I just love it! If you ever want to learn more, please contact us with your questions. You can start a conversation on our website, or message us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You can SUBSCRIBE on our website or YouTube channel or comment on any of our videos that appear on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Check out our video series on Fitness Tips that started on September 28, 2021.