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Archive for Sunday, November 21, 2004

Don’t let your exercise be routine

November 21, 2004

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, what's the best workout routine of all?

The body staring back at you has the answer. Reflect on it. Know your goals and discover what workouts work for you. The best workout is the one that you'll enjoy and consistently perform.

And your routine -- well, it shouldn't be routine at all, but should change on a regular basis. We seem to start out with extrinsic motivation -- looking good -- yet we stick to our fitness regimes for intrinsic reasons -- feeling good.

We all need a combination of strength, cardiovascular and flexibility training to be fit. You can cover all of your bases through integrated, functional strength training, where you work multiple muscles simultaneously, while challenging your balance to target your core -- the powerhouse of your body. If you perform a circuit (full-body training that focuses on moving through your workout at a quick pace) you will receive cardiovascular, strength and flexibility benefits. And fat use by the body after exercise is increased more with challenging circuits than with resistance training alone. A tough circuit can challenge your aerobic and anaerobic metabolism as well as your muscles and your mind.

It is important, however, not to rely strictly on one form of exercise and trick yourself into thinking you're fit because you "work out."

Runners who do no resistance or flexibility training expose themselves to injury and imbalances in bone density. Devotees of yoga and pilates get core training and flexibility, but may not be getting some of the most important advantages of cardiovascular and resistance training -- a strong heart, great lungs and lean muscle mass.

For those wanting to lose weight, nothing beats a high percentage of lean muscle mass. It increases your metabolic rate and burns more calories.

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