This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title
 

Category Archives: Entertainment

I Fully Understand That I Can’t Do It All by Myself

I want to get serious about my sport level abilities, but I have long known that I can only get so far on my own. My friend who trains together with me said that if I needed a personal trainer Denver has some really great ones. I live and work in one of those nearby suburbs, so I knew it wouldn’t be a big to meet with someone in Denver. If I wanted to improve my performance I knew that I needed to do get a professional to help me with it. It was the only way that I could go farther than I ever have.

I wasn’t really into sports when I was a young person. I think I kicked around the soccer ball with my brother is quite a few times, and I love riding my bike.

Know More About Skipping Rope Benefits

Naturally, not many people perform a skipping rope workout for a straight hour, but that is just for comparison. One estimate states that the benefits of skipping rope for ten minutes is about the equivalent of running a mile in eight minutes.

In addition, jumping rope is not as hard on the knees as running because the ball of the foot is absorbing much of the shock rather than the heel having the heavy impact such as happens in running. This is the reason it is a good exercise for seniors. A skipping rope workout is also used as a method of conditioning by professional athletes.

The benefits of skipping rope can be realized with any kind of cord or rope and a bit of persistence, without expensive training or equipment. Once you get in the habit of a skipping rope workout, you will surely find it an enjoyable part of your exercise routine that offers great value.

Jumping rope is excellent for working every muscle group in the body. Each muscle works extra hard just to keep you upright and tightens your muscles with each repetition. It works the upper body as you turn the rope over and over, and produces upper body burn. For the legs, your quads, hamstrings and calves are stressed with each jump, strengthening those muscles.

Here are a few reasons why jumping rope is one of the very best exercises :

# Build Agility & Quickness

Want to get “lighter on your feet?” Skip rope every day for a few minutes. When you jump rope on the balls of your feet, body connects with mind to make “neural muscular adjustments” to keep you balanced. Essentially, skipping rope improves your balance and quickness/coordination by making your mind focus on your feet for sustained periods of time, even if you’re not conscious of it. Boxers know this. Why do you think jumping rope is a favorite exercise for the best boxers in the world?

# Calorie Cooker
Very few exercises burn calories like jump rope. Even jumping at a very moderate rate burns 10 to 16 calories a minute. Work your jump rope exercise into three 10-minute rounds and you’re looking at 480 calories in half an hour. According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of skipping rope is about equivalent to running an 8-minute-mile. There’s a reason the American Heart Association created an entire movement around jumping rope (ever heard of Jump Rope for Heart?).

# Increase Bone Density
The medium impact of jumping rope increases bone density, but isn’t as hard on your joints as running because the impact of each jump is absorbed by both legs. In fact, according to Dr. Daniel W. Barry, a researcher who has studied the bones of the elderly and of athletes, the latest studies show simply jumping is one of the very best exercises for improving bone density.

# It’s Good For Your Brain
We know that exercise (even as little as 20 minutes) is good for the brain. But did you know that activities with BOTH physical and mental demands (like ballroom dancing or jumping rope) have higher impacts on cognitive functioning than exercise tasks alone (like the treadmill or stationary bike). Turns out the very best workouts for brain health involve coordination, rhythm, and strategy. So the next time you’re jumping rope, challenge yourself to try some jump rope tricks. Turns out they’re really good for your brain.

# Jump Rope Tech
We’ve come a long way from the beaded ropes from PE class. Modern fitness ropes come with ball-bearing handles, ultra-fast cables and easy sizing systems (and the color customization options are endless). New “smart” jump ropes will count your jumps. Even the new beaded ropes can be customized with your favorite color of ultra light, unbreakable beads.

# Affordability
Of all the fitness options out there, rope jumping is still one of the most affordable. Shoot, even runners need to fork it over for high end shoes. But jump ropes? Even a top of the line fitness jump rope is only $20. Very simple (but good) ropes can be purchased for as low as $3. And, depending on the surface you jump on, a rope should last you a while.

 

 

 

Why You Should Stretch?

Stretching. For many women it’s an afterthought, something you might do after you’re done with other, more important exercise, if you remember or have time, which is usually never. Increasingly, however, scientists are finding that for health, well-being, and quality of life, flexibility should move off the back burner and to the forefront of our minds.

In a recent study, Japanese researchers asked more than 500 women and men ages 20 to 83 to perform a “sit and reach” test, where they sit with legs extended and tried to touch their toes. They then examined their arteries for arterial stiffness, often a precursor to high blood pressure and heart disease. Turns out that after age 40, there’s a strong correlation between rigid muscles and stiff arteries. Specifically, those who had poor flexibility also had significantly stiffer artieries than their more limber peers.

Other studies have linked poor flexibility to high blood sugar, which increases diabetes risk, as well as greater risk for metabolic syndrome — another risk factor for heart disease.

Stretching is very important in beginning and ending an exercise. But its functions go beyond preventing strains and sprains. So why stretch?

# Stretching before beginning an exercise prevents injuries. It helps the muscles “warm-up” and prepare before divulging into more intense exercises. It helps prevent “pulled muscles”. It allows a longer range of motion. For instance, if you are going to do a strong punch without stretching, you will ‘shock’ your relaxed muscles into motion, thus it will cause pain and soreness.

# Stretching promotes better breathing and respiratory (or oxygen) flow. Stretching allows oxygen to flow better through your body and it also helps better blood circulation. Body pains and sores usually root from increased tightness and tension from the lack of oxygen that flows to the different parts of your body. Stretching allows the oxygen to move freely and move better.

# Stretching improves flexibility. When you constantly stretch, you are also making yourself more flexible, thus activities that require flexibility, such dancing and kicks, short sprints and dashes, even basic tasks such as lifting and tying your shoe, can become easier. Flexibility also wanes s people ages, so it’s best to regularly stretch so that you can maintain your flexibility.

# Stretching reduces stress and improves posture. Stress causes the muscles to tighten and knot, thus it can cause strain and back pains. Tension causes negative effects on your body. Muscles harden and slow down the flow of the oxygen (carried by the blood) to the brain which muddles thinking. Stretching brings back the oxygen flow and regulates it, re-oxygenating the brain and also the heart.

# Stretch after exercising. Lactic acid builds up in your muscles while you exercise which leads to fatigue and soreness. This can be remedied by “cooling down” exercises or post-exercise stretching. Post-exercise stretching can help in workout recovery, decreases muscle soreness that comes after the workout and ensures that your muscles and tendons are in good working order. If you stretch after exercising, you are conditioning your muscles, and, in a way, you are relaxing your muscles after a vigorous regimen.

 

Get Back Into Shape using This Helpful Tips

Get Back Into ShapeYou woke up today and looked in the mirror.

And you said to yourself, “Gosh (or #$^@  $#@$@%), I’m going to get in shape!”

It’s okay, we’ve all been there.   This might be the first, tenth, or twenty time you’ve tried to lose weight and get healthy.  Sure, things didn’t work last time, or the time before that, or even the time before that…”but things are going to be different THIS time,” right?

 So here are my top 10 ways to get back on track, to start losing weight and get into shape today.

# Believe you can do it

Self belief is critical to your success. Use other examples of when you have set your mind to achieving a goal & succeeded in achieving it (eg saving for a holiday, changing careers, buying a new home) – to motivate you. This way, you can regularly remind yourself that when you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.

# Decide on why it’s important to you

Just because you think you should be thinner is not motivating enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle, you need to know why you care – why it matters to you to be healthy. This means taking time to think about what it means to you to be healthy and how it will improve your life. In addition, you must be clear on the costs associated with remaining unhealthy.

# Top on mind

In order to be healthy it has to be top of mind, so that you don’t slip back into bad habits when you forget to pay attention or your mood isn’t quite right (eg during times of stress or hormonal changes). When you are focused on being healthy, you can incorporate behaviours into your life (other than eating quick-fix feel good foods) to address your moods. Keeping you focused on why you want to live a healthy life.

# Taste vs pleasure

There is a reason junk food appears to taste so much better than healthy good, when you are not used to healthy eating, or when you include too much junk food in your diet. There is a HUGE amount of money spent on research to ensure the taste is pleasing and addictive. Shifting from highly processed, high salt and high fat foods, to seemingly bland food can be very challenging. So, you must give your taste buds time to readjust. The more you cut back on these things and choose healthier alternatives, the more you start to appreciate and enjoy more natural flavours.

# Stop feeling like you’re not missing out

When starting to eat healthy it’s very important to not feel as though you are being punished by thinking ‘its horrible that I can’t eat delicious food any more’. The idea is to want to eat healthily because you enjoy how fresh, clean and energetic you feel. Thus, you don’t feel tempted to gorge on junk food in order to modify your moods or to satisfy a craving. You want to be able to enjoy treats when appropriate (eg celebrations), but be able to revert back to healthy eating again straight away.

# Get your family and friends involved

It’s so much easier to sustain a healthy life if your family and friends are involved. You can involve them by arranging to engage in physical activity together, preparing healthy meals everyone can enjoy together, or by discussing what you are doing and asking for their support.

# Ignore well meaning others who want you to join them in their eating habits

Food and socializing are very closely linked, so people around you are going to try to encourage you to eat and drink unhealthy foods from time to time. The key here is to ensure there are delicious healthy dishes served that you can all enjoy together. In addition to you feeling less stressed about having to explain your new eating habits, the consumption of healthier food will lead to lighter conversation, more energy and increased fun.

# Be organized with meal preparation

Ensure you eat regularly throughout the day and that you have healthy meals prepared in advance to avoid picking up quick and easy high fat foods on the run. Take time each week to ensure you have sufficient healthy snacks in your bags, drawers at work and home pantry. Then, either arrange for someone at home to prepare your meals for you, or cook a few healthy meals at the start of the weeks and freeze them for those nights when you really can’t be bothered cooking.

# Stop all or nothing thinking

As noted before, it’s very important to be flexible with your eating habits so that if you end up eating more junk food than anticipated, you simply move on, rather than use it as an excuse to eat like crazy. Remind yourself that you are not being restricted. No-one is telling you what to do. You’re eating healthy because you want to.

# Prepare delicious alternatives

Eating healthy should never be boring. Log on to the Happy Life website below for some free delicious meals you can easily prepare. It’s really important to have a positive association with healthy eating, so be creative and prepare foods you enjoy. Don’t just stick to the same old salad and soup diet. You want healthy eating to be a lifestyle, not a chore.

Why You Must Run?

RunWhether you gently jog a few kilometres a week or you are a race regular, pounding the pavement is a wise move. Running can be daunting at first, but you will start to feel the mental and physical benefits within a matter of weeks.

Still not sure if running is for you? Here are 10 great reasons to lace up your running shoes and hit the open road…

  • You lose weight – If you want to shed kilos, pick up the pace. In 30 minutes, a 60-kilo woman burns about 287 calories running at 10 kilometres per hour and about 96 calories walking at five kilometres an hour.
  • You strengthen your bones – Contrary to popular belief, running will not wreak havoc on bones. In fact, it can increase bone density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
  • You live longer – Running one and a half to two hours a week can increase women’s lifespan by 5.6 years and men’s by 6.2 years, according to a major Danish study that surveyed 20,000 men and women over a period of 36 years. And you don’t need to win any races to reap the benefits either – lead researcher Peter Schnohr says you only need to run fast enough to feel a little breathless.
  • You decrease your risk of cancer – The Journal Of Nutrition published a review of 170 studies analysing the relationship between physical activity and cancer risk in 2002. The results were clear: breaking a sweat on a regular basis will slash your chances of developing several types of cancer. Colon cancer, for example, had an average risk reduction of 40 to 70 per cent, while breast, prostate and lung cancers all had an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 per cent.
  • You strengthen muscles – According to researchers at Boston’s Tufts University, you lose about one per cent of muscle mass each year after the age of 30. Unless you maintain muscle through regular exercise, fat takes over. While you should add resistance training to your weekly regimen, running strengthens your legs, back and abdominal muscles.
  • You reduce your risk of diabetes – The US Nurses’ Health Study found three hours of vigorous exercise a week reduces women’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 46 per cent.
  • You improve your sleep and boost your energy – If counting sheep isn’t cutting it, running 30 minutes five times a week could solve your sleep issues. A study published in the journal Mental Health And Physical Activity found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week improved sleep quality by 65 per cent. Participants were also 65 per cent less likely to feel sleepy during the day.
  • You lift your mood – Several studies have found running can elevate mood and even ease depression, thanks to the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Many runners even report an almost euphoric feeling known as “runner’s high”, which is natural and cheaper than therapy.
  • You reduce your risk of blood pressure and heart disease – Running regularly improves your cardiovascular health by increasing the elasticity of your arteries, which in turn reduces your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • You boost your immunity- A study at the University of South Carolina in the US found regular moderate exercise reduced participants’ risk of the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) by 20 per cent. But less is more when it comes to warding off illness: long-distance runners are more susceptible to URTIs during periods of heavy training and in the week following long races.

Is Necessary Have Great Professional Trainer?

What Does a Personal Trainer Do?

If you are wondering as to what is the main job of a personal trainer, you need to know the following. Having a personal trainer will ensure that he/she will understand the details of how your body operates. With this knowledge and understanding, they will help you spot the best exercises that can truly work upon your body muscles and flex it in the right manner.

Sometimes, even after putting in hours and hours of exercising, you may fail to get the right results and this is when you will need a trainer who can look into the matters or you. If your way of carrying out the exercises is not up to the mark, it is not going to assist you and this is why you will need someone who is skilled and expert enough to handle the matters for you

With the right type of fitness bootcamp, you can bring about a change in your energy levels and train your body vigorously. When you are opting for such boot camps, you will be able to derive the right benefits.

You can always ask your personal trainer for the right kind of opinion regarding the best boot camps which you should participate in. You have to be sure that you are enrolling in such camps and you should take the lessons seriously. If you are unaware of the key aspects, put in the right kind of effort. With the finest insight in the best ways by which you can train your body, you will be able to improve the way you work.

When your body has been toned in the right manner, it is going to help you enjoy the best benefits of health. The perks of a healthy body are too many and with the best trainer to help you improve your fitness, you can have the perfect body and this is definitely going to improve the way you feel about yourself.

Here Is why working out with a personal trainer helps you get the most out of your fitness routine :

# They teach you new things

If you’re new to the gym experience, getting a personal trainer is a smart idea. Many gyms offer a free session at sign-up to help you get familiar with the machines, and more in-depth sessions can help perfect your form.

# They’re sometimes your therapist

Having friend drama? Your trainer can be the perfect person to talk it out with while you’re bending, balancing, and lifting.

# They are an objective eye

We all have areas we’d like to work on, and personal trainers can not only tell you realistically what to expect with each workout, but also how to optimize a session to target different muscle groups.

# They keep count

OK, maybe this is just me being lazy, but I just love the fact that someone else is keeping track of my reps, especially when I can barely lift my arms (let alone think) anymore.

# They’re better than a mirror

Watching yourself while you work out can help you make sure your form is correct, but it’s even better when someone is there to tweak it while you work.

# They push your limits

Just when you think you can’t go anymore, you’ll be told to “hold for another minute” or do “10 more reps.” And what do you do? You do it, and are all the better for it.

# They love to see you sweat

Who loves to see you at your disheveled worst more than your trainer? All those huffs, puffs, and sweaty faces just tell them that they’re doing their jobs!

 

The Advantages of Joining Zumba Classes

Aerobic dance originated in the late 1960s as people discovered the energizing fun they could have while moving vigorously to music. About 30 years later, a fitness instructor accidentally set the stage for Zumba when he forgot to bring a music tape to an exercise class. Forced to improvise, he played Latin dance music and led students through Salsa steps at a brisk pace.

  • Aerobic Exercise : Moving to the upbeat music in a Zumba class is exceptionally easy, thanks to the fun tempos and the invigorating music. While participating in these types of movements, people receive beneficial cardiovascular exercise. It’s common for participants to burn between 600 and 1,000 calories in a single session. Once you begin burning these calories, your body could shift into high gear with a faster metabolism. This could enable you to burn calories at a higher rate even when you aren’t exercising.
  • Stress-Buster : Expending energy and moving to music can be an effective way to decrease anxiety and stress. Throughout the day, anxiety often builds in response to professional and personal situations that occur. By grabbing a spot in a Zumba class, you can kick, jump, and twist your way to a more positive attitude. As mood-enhancing endorphins course through your veins, you might be surprised at the powerful impact of this form of exercise. Your natural high can last long past the end of the class.
  • Coordination : Developing and maintaining coordination is an important factor, especially with aging. Coordination enables people to remain agile and avoid accidents. By dancing energetically on a regular basis, you will maintain swift reaction times and exemplary coordination.
  • Adaptability : Beginners can adapt this type of dance class to be easier. People with experience can easily increase the intensity to create a challenging workout that builds muscle and burns calories. Students can expend as much or as little energy as they wish in a session, depending on individual energy level and overall skill level. Various routines will keep the dancing fresh and invigorating. Routines focus on different parts of the body for all-over fitness benefits. It’s even possible to choreograph your own routine to create an individual workout that fits your own unique needs.
  • Sociable :The people you’ll meet in this exercise class might keep you coming back. A wide variety of people have discovered the benefits of Zumba, so you can expect to meet and interact with many interesting people. Making new friends and visiting can be a powerful motivator for many exercisers. As you slim down and feel healthier, you might even notice that you have greater confidence and fewer inhibitions, which can make it easier to make friends.
  • Improved Cardiovascular Health
    One of the best fitness benefits associated with Zumba dancing is an improvement in your cardiovascular health. Your cardiovascular system is composed of your heart, as well as the veins and arteries that deliver blood to and from the heart. When this system is weak, you may experience symptoms such as weakness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and an inability to perform the daily activities of life. In addition to these symptoms, a weak cardiovascular system can, in some cases, cause heart attacks or even death. Research has found that one of the best ways to improve the condition of your cardiovascular system is by performing physical activity that stresses the heart, such as walking, swimming, or Zumba dancing.
  • Weight Loss : Another great fitness benefit associated with Zumba dancing is the burning of body fat and weight loss. This is one of the most common reasons that people choose to join group exercise classes such as Zumba. As stated above, Zumba is a type of cardiovascular exercise, and research has found that participating in cardiovascular exercise is the best way to lose weight. For best results, try to track how many calories you burn during the workout, and use this to maximize your weight loss. For the average person, engaging in Zumba dance workout for one hour will burn 600 to 1,000 calories.
  • Improved Mood : Research has found that all types of exercise produce endorphins, which are a type of “feel-good” hormone that are released into the blood stream after you finish exercising. People who suffer from bouts of depression are often encouraged to participate in physical activity in order to benefit from these hormones. Studies have discovered that for the highest amount of endorphin release, you must participate in cardiovascular exercise. Zumba is an excellent option – it improves self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-image.
  • Tones the Abdominals : Many Zumba dance moves aid in working on the core abdominal muscles – the girdle of muscles that gives the pelvis its strength and power. This means firmer abdominals and a lower risk of back pain.
  • Provides Benefits of Interval Training : Zumba dance offers the benefits of interval training which is one of the best ways to burn calories. Zumba incorporates the principles of interval training into every workout by using alternating fast and slow sequences to vary the intensity.
  • It’s Upbeat and Fun : What is the most common reason people stop exercising? Lack of time and boredom. Zumba addresses both of these problems by providing a total body workout in one session and making exercise fun. The magic of the lively Latin music motivates participants to perform movements with more intensity than if they were doing a series of squats or a set of controlled lat-pull down exercises. The mood is incredibly upbeat in a Zumba exercise class. Time goes by quickly because the dance routines are anything but boring. Most people look forward to coming to class – and so they keep coming – and seeing results.

Cardiovascular Exercises for Your Health

Cardiovascular is related to the circulatory system wherein it contains the heart and blood vessels. It is where the oxygen is being transmitted to the body tissues and then takes away the carbon dioxide and other wastes.

There are lots of exercises that you can choose from. But before you engage in any one of these exercises, you must first consult your doctor to find out if you’re allowed to perform such exercise. You may have some restrictions that might cause harm to your body if you do it without your doctor’s prescription. So, it is better to be safe than sorry. But if you already have your doctor’s approval, you may now choose from the wide variety of exercises your body can benefit from. You can do cardio at the gym, your house, or even outside. Doing cardio exercises in the gym is very good because they have all the equipment needed to boost your cardiovascular system, and a machine that will tone down your muscles. You can also do it at home; you just have to purchase some of the light equipment like a stability ball, dumbbells, etc. Even though your concentration can be divided here, at least you can exercise in your own way. Here is Cardiovascular Exercises for You.

Uppercut

Stand in a split stance with right foot one step ahead of left foot and hips squared (facing forward). With right hand, punch up and to the left with a scooping motion. Quickly repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate as quickly as possible while maintaining loose knees and a tight core. Halfway through, switch stance to the other side.

Mountain Climber Twist

From a high plank position with core tight, run left knee in toward right elbow, then right knee in toward left elbow. Continue to alternate as quickly as possible without hiking hips.Make it easier: Run knees straight in toward chest rather than twisting.

High Knees

Stand with your feet hip width and run in place by pulling right knee up toward chest, then left knee up toward chest. Continue to alternate as quickly as possible.Make it easier: If running isn’t part of your game plan, perform this move as a march, using your core to pull your knee toward your chest.

Inchworm

Stand with feet hip width and core tight. Bend from the waist, place hands on the ground, and walk hands forward, keeping legs straight. When you arrive in a high plank, quickly walk hands back toward feet and stand.Make it harder: Add a push-up when you are in the high plank position.

Power Skip

Stand with feet hip width and core tight. Raise right knee up as you bring left arm forward and hop off left foot. Land on the ball of your left foot then immediately bring right foot down and repeat on the other side. Focus on height not speed.

Punch

Start in the same split stance that you used for uppercuts, with right foot one step ahead of left foot. Raise both fists up, keeping elbows pulled in to rib cage. Punch forward with left hand, slightly rotating torso as you do. Punch as quickly as possible for half of your time, then switch your stance and punch on the other side.

Plank Jacks

From a high plank position, with core tight, jump feet apart then jump them back together. Repeat as quickly as possible while trying to maintain level hips.

Butt Kick

Run in place kicking heels toward glutes. Swing arms at side or allow them to rest against butt so that heels kick palms. Make sure the movement is being driven from your hamstrings (not your feet kicking up dust).

Fast Feet Shuffle

With feet wider than hip width, bend knees slightly, sending hips back and keeping core tight. Shuffle feet to the right for 4 paces (or for as much space as you have), then shuffle back the other way. Stay low and make your feet move as quickly as possible to get the most out of this exercise.

Plank-to-Knee Tap

This classic cardio move is a great way to warm up or do active rest between more difficult moves. Start with feet together, hands at sides, core engaged. Now jump legs apart and bring arms overhead, clapping at the top. Keep knees bent as you jump feet back together and bring arms down. Repeat as quickly as possible.

Vertical Jump

The goal here is simple: Try to jump as high as possible. Stand with a slight bend in the knees and feet hip width. Swing both arms back as you bend a little deeper. Then, as you swing arms forward, jump up, extending arms overhead. Land lightly and repeat.

Cardio Training

The large amount of information available on the World Wide Web may be confusing and making it more difficult for you to find an appropriate training. Unlike during the past when aerobic training was an effective cardio workout, currently it should be your last choice unless you are training to become a cross-country running professional. Therefore, if you want to see effective weight loss and burn more calories, it is important to adopt a high-intensity workout regime to witness the actual gains of cardiovascular training programs. Adopting these workouts will help you burn two to three times more amount of calories in a shorter time. Anaerobic cardiovascular exercises are beneficial in building leaner muscle mass, which cannot be achieved with aerobic workouts. Building muscle mass is the best way to fight the buildup of body fats.

In addition to sprint training, individuals can adopt numerous other high-intensity cardio methods to achieve their desired weight loss. Some of these regimes include polymeric, body weight circuit systems, agility training, and suicides. All these exercise routines are beneficial in the development of muscle mass while burning the extra fats from your body. Clearly, if you want to achieve permanent and real weight loss, it is recommended you begin your own cardiovascular training program and see the positive results quicker.

Why Do Cardio?

To lose weight.

As we’ve already discussed, cardio exercise–that heart-pumping, vigorous exercise such as running, bicycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, playing tennis, brisk walking or stair-climbing, among many other choices–blasts away calories during your workout session like nothing else.

To tone up.

True, resistance training is the superior method for improving muscle mass and tone–you’ll see more on that below. But cardio workouts tone and tighten your muscles too; consider the toned calves of the trail runner or the rock-hard quads of the cyclist.

To maintain your weight.

Burning calories through cardio workouts helps counteract the calories you ingest via your diet, keeping the calories-in vs. calories-out equation just where you want it.

When you’re working out regularly, you can generally enjoy a few more treats or “extras” in your diet than you otherwise could, while still maintaining your desired weight. Let’s face it: a life without an occasional can be pretty grim indeed! Cardio lets you have your cake and eat it, too–at least some of the time.

To stay healthy.

Aside from the weight implications of cardiovascular exercise, there are many other health benefits to cardio workouts as well. Regular cardio exercise keeps your heart strong, your blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol under control and lowers your risk of many diseases like diabetes and cancer.

How Do You Maximize Your Cardio Benefits?

Work out frequently.
To really reap the benefits of cardio exercise, you need to include it into your life in a regular, frequent basis.

Saving your physical activity for a session or two on weekends only won’t get you too far toward your weight-loss or athletic goals. Instead, try to be active and work up a sweat on most days of the week.

Do it for a long enough time.

For minimum health, 20 minutes is probably fine. But to meet the Surgeon General’s recommendations for best health outcomes and good weight management, you’ll need to engage in cardio exercise for at least an hour a day. Don’t worry; you can always break this up into several smaller chunks if need be.

Challenge yourself.

Remember that for a cardio workout to really benefit you, you need to put in the effort. If you can easily carry on a conversation or sing a song while exercising, you’re not working hard enough.

Make sure you enjoy it.

The best tip for getting the most out of your cardio workout is simply to choose one that is enjoyable to you. You’ll be much more likely to stick with your workout regimen if you actually like what you’re doing. Consider what type of activity is fun for you, and use that for your cardio exercise if possible.

Is Cardio Enough?

Well, the short answer is “no.” For true fitness and health, you need strength training too. But let’s take a more detailed look into why you should add strength training–in other words, sets of exercises using weights, bands or your own body weight as resistance to build your lean muscle mass–to your workout routine in addition to your heart-pumping cardio sessions.

Muscle mass burns more calories.

While it’s true that I just told you that cardio workouts burn lots of calories while you’re doing them, weight-lifting and other types of strength training have their own calorie-burning benefit. Your body burns calories all the time, every minute of every day, just to operate your biological systems and keep you alive.

But body fat doesn’t burn as many calories as lean muscle mass does. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns all the time, even when you’re not exercising. In other words, building muscle speeds up your metabolism.

Strength training tones and tightens your muscles.

There’s nothing like strength training for reshaping your body. Sure, cardio workouts melt away fat, but resistance workouts tone and strengthen the muscles underneath, which can give you a smoother, leaner shape.

It’s good for your bones.

Strength training has been shown to be very effective at maintaining bone mass and strength. As you age, bone loss can be a serious problem, leading to falls and fractures. Lifting weights helps keep your bones strong and healthy.

 

About Fat Burning

So you think you know the drill on getting a good body. But we’re not after good; we’re after great.

# Be an early bird to get the workout.

Lace up first thing and you’ll increase your odds of exercising today threefold. A study of 500 people at the Mollen Clinic, a preventive medicine and wellness center in Scottsdale, Arizona, found that 75 percent of those who worked out in the morning did so regularly, compared with just half the afternoon exercisers and a quarter of the post-work crowd. “At the beginning of the day, you have the fewest excuses for skipping exercise,” says clinic founder Arthur Mollen, DO. Not waking up early enough, of course, is the main one. “Limit using the snooze button to only five minutes so that you don’t fall into a deep sleep again,” Dr. Mollen advises. Bonus! You’ll go to work feeling focused: A recent study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise improved concentration, reading comprehension, and cognitive function.

# Hit the metal before the pedal.

Instead of going from zero to 60 to sweat off the calories, consider this: Doing a quick sculpting routine pre-cardio could increase the amount of fat you melt. Exercisers in a study at the University of Tokyo who biked within 20 minutes of lifting weights tapped more of their fat stores than those who rested longer or didn’t tone at all.

# Push your pace, rev your metabolism.

Finished toning and ready to get sweaty? Gun it a bit for a bigger afterburn. “High-intensity exercise increases the release of growth hormones, which mobilize fat to be used as fuel, plus it causes your metabolism to stay elevated about 10 to 15 percent above its baseline, so you’re burning more fat for several hours post-workout,” says Arthur Weltman, PhD, director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In other words, if you worked off 300 calories during your session, you’ll get a bonus burn of about 45 calories even after you’ve toweled off.

# Give up your seat to trim your bottom line.

Even regular exercisers could benefit from extra toning of their tush, the largest muscle group in the body, which dozes all day at your desk job. “When you’re walking or running, it’s your hamstrings, hip flexors, and calf muscles that get the most work,” says FITNESS advisory board member Vonda Wright, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Unless you’re going uphill, your glutes don’t play a major role.” The good news? If you bailed on doing those butt-firming squats during your workout, you can easily sneak them in when your cube mate isn’t looking. Stand up from your chair, feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your bottom to the seat as though you’re going to sit, touch down, and then spring up, squeezing your glutes as you straighten. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps two or even three times throughout the day.

# Take a power walk to beat a midday slump.

As little as 20 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity such as walking can give you a 20 percent surge in energy, research at the University of Georgia in Athens finds. “It’s paradoxical: Many people assume that they’ll get tired from exercise. But the opposite actually happens,” says study author Patrick O’Connor, PhD, a professor of kinesiology. “We’re not certain what the biological mechanism is,” he says, “but indirect evidence suggests that brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin are altered and cause the improved energy.” Besides, that quick recharge just burned about 75 calories. Sure beats adding 250 spike-then-slump calories’ worth of Skittles.

# Do the two-step.

When you opt for the stairs, go at them two at a time — as long as you’re not wearing heels. The quick bursts of power activate your legs’ fast-twitch muscle fibers, which burn more calories than slow-twitch fibers. Plus, you’ll be using a part of your muscles that commonly doesn’t get enough action. “Fast muscle cells are designed so you can jump far, kick hard, punch fast — moves that you call on less and less in modern society,” says Scott Mazzetti, PhD, a professor of exercise science at Salisbury University in Maryland. “But unfortunately it’s a use-them-or-lose-them situation, so it’s good to activate them regularly.”

# Go like Gumby.

Consistent stretching significantly decreases muscle soreness, according to a study at the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for Health Services in Oslo. Skipped your stretches postexercise? Wind down with this 17-minute allover loosener from Jennifer Huberty, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

  • Warm up first with 5 minutes of brisk high-knee marching.
  • Toe-reach stretch (targets hamstrings, which remain shortened all day as you’re seated): Sit on the floor with your left leg straight in front of you, knee slightly bent, right leg bent out to the side and resting on the floor. Reach for your toes without bouncing and hold for 30 seconds; relax. Do 3 stretches, then switch legs and repeat.
  • Hip-flexor stretch (targets hips, which also are tight in desk jockeys): Lie faceup on the floor with your left leg bent, left foot flat, and bend your right knee out to the side so your right ankle is crossed over and resting on the lower left thigh. Grasp your left thigh with both hands and pull it toward you until you feel a comfortable stretch in your right hip, glutes, and outer thigh. Hold for 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat. Do 3 stretches per side.
  • Side stretch (targets upper back and waistline): Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise arms overhead and interlock fingers with palms facing up. Keeping your middle centered, hinge at the waist to the right; hold for 30 seconds. Return to center and reach up; hold for 30 seconds.
  • Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 stretches on each side.

# Set out your sneakers.

A recent FITNESS poll found that sneakers — with sports bras being a close second — are the piece of gear that is forgotten most often, foiling women’s workout plans. Clear that obstacle by, well, making them an obstacle in front of the door you exit in the a.m., suggests Diane Klein, PhD, chair of exercise and sports sciences at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens. “Seeing them will remind you that you planned to exercise,” Klein says. For motivation to move, kicks are worth a thousand words.

Here is Great Fat Burning Exercises

  • Lunges with Reverse Leg Raise – This tones the glutes, thighs, obliques, and lower back, all while building coordination and balance.
  • Jumping Squats – Do this exercise for a minute or two straight and you wont have any doubts about how challenging it is. This plyometric is also great for building explosive speed.
  • Push Ups – Push ups are a total body exercise that are easily modified and can be made to be very challenging, even for the most avid exerciser. If a regular push up feels too easy for you, try the Single Leg Push Up.
  • Burpees – This at home cardio move tones your core, upper body and legs all at once- it’s a triple threat exercise that everyone tends to dread for good reason; they are hard! But they also work.
  • Jumping Lunges – Lunges are a fantastic thigh toning exercise; add in the momentum required to jump up in between lunges and the move turns into an incredible calorie burner.
  • Jackknife Crunches – Jackknife Crunches are an advanced abdominal move that engage both the upper and lower abs for maximal toning in the least amount of time. They are especially beneficial because lower abs can be hard to target without equipment.
  • Side Planks with Leg Raises – While this most specifically targets the outer thighs, obliques, and deltoids, it requires the strength and coordination of the entire body to hold up the base Pilates side plank.
  • Lateral Jumps – Tone your core, glutes, and thighs with this one simple Pilates move. Because all of the large muscle groups involved, you burn a high number of calories while you are toning.
  • Mountain Climbers – Mountain Climbers can feel like a punishment, but they truly are one of the best overall toning and fat burning moves out there that don’t require a bit of equipment.
  • Jumping Jacks – This simple at home cardio essential is an excellent way to get your heart rate up quickly. Add it in between strength training sets to keep your caloric burn high.