Now that 2012 is here, millions of people will start a new exercise routine or join a gym. And for many it can be a daunting task. For those who do not understand how to get the most out of their gym’s equipment or have challenges maintaining a regular fitness routine, here are some recommendations from the fitness and exercise science experts at Cybex Research Institute. Please Note: if you have a pre-existing medical condition, consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine).
Rule #1 Don’t Be Intimidated by Fitness Machines, Even Those With Lots of Buttons and Lights.
Fitness machines are very good for working muscles and will help you ramp up your metabolism. They can also help establish healthy fitness habits and consistency in an exercise program. Ask a trainer at your gym to explain how to use the programs on the equipment and have them suggest a workout routine to help you.
Rule #2 Maximize Your Time in the Gym by Setting Specific Fitness Goals.
Try to set a goal of getting to the gym 10 to 12 times in a month. Exercising regularly will help you achieve other goals like losing weight and getting stronger. The fitness equipment you use and the way you use it will have dramatic impact on how quickly and effectively you reach your goals. Try to set goals like register for a road race, walk for a cause, or hike a mountain. It will give you something to work toward. If you are using exercise equipment for the first time like a cross trainer, an Arc Trainer, a stationary bike or a treadmill, start slow the first few times out, then gradually increase the resistance level to increase your heart rate. Set a goal for 30 minutes or until you feel fatigued. As you progress, increase the resistance level even further so you can audibly communicate five syllables, “I’m Going to Win.” If you can sing, you probably aren’t exerting yourself.
Rule #3 Monitor Your Heart Rate/Perceived Rate of Exertion.
There are a variety of distinct zones for cardio training. Select the type of training depending on what you want to achieve.
-If your goal is to lose weight, make a commitment to exercise regularly and eventually work your way up to a high intensity interval exercise routine.
-For Strength and Power, use a high intensity workout with short fast bursts and cool downs.
-To run a marathon or plan for a long distance event, focus on a lower heart rate with longer durations.
Rule #4 Don’t Become Too Dependent on Any One Form of Fitness Equipment or a Specific Exercise Routine.
Keep it interesting and mix it up so your body can respond to a variety of routines. Also, know that all fitness and cardiovascular equipment is not designed the same. Some studies have found elliptical machines can actually impose more stress on your joints and make exercise far less comfortable. Incorporate a variety of fitness equipment and exercises into your new routine to stay motivated and avoid boredom.
Rule #5 Weight Training!
As a rule, muscle mass declines with age, with a loss of approximately 8% per year after the age of 25 mass loss starts to become apparent in your 40s and pick up speed after about age 50. Then the typical rate of muscle loss really begins to outpace the rate of muscle gain. Therefore it is important to start with an aerobic fitness routine and then add a basic, progressive strength-training program into your regimen. For weights, try a functional trainer or cable strength training machine. It provides greater core activation and strength gains and there are countless exercise possibilities.
Be safe and have a great workout.
Cybex Research Institute
Director of Education