Monday, January 10, 2022

Use This Instead Of Weights.

I know I need to use weights on a regular basis but I can't always take them with me.  When I travel to Europe, I do not want to put them in my luggage because I could put my portable tea pot, portable water pick, and other important items instead.  So I've been finding ways to continue my strength training without the use of weights.

Fortunately, there are some nice alternatives one can use.  Instead of using weights, one can use their own body weight which is often easier to take with you and less expensive. In addition, if you add a few other moves to the workout, you can burn the maximum number of calories in 20 minutes or less.  I realize for many people, this type of workout is much harder since it does involve the whole body and they aren't used to it.

Research indicates that a good workout needs two elements in it to provide the best results: cardio and strength. Getting enough cardio is fairly easy due to things like walking, dancing, kickboxing, etc but strength training is the one many people skip. There are things to do if you love going to the gym or if you are one who doesn't have a local gym.  First, I'll look at alternatives to machines people use in the gym and then I'll look at activities one can do in the backyard or park.

If you like using a chest press machine, think of doing push-ups instead.  Push-ups are great for building muscular endurance while activating the total core more.  If you aren't great at push-ups, then start with the modified ones, working your way up to the full ones.  Sometimes, you have to build your muscles in your core and arms to do a proper push-up.

Instead of doing a barbell squat or using a leg press, think about using single leg squats because it improves balance and core stability.  This is great because we need to work on balance as we age and this exercise incorporates it.  

Then if you like using a treadmill or stationary bike, one can do jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees, or lateral hops to accomplish the same thing. These exercises elevate your heart and the movement takes your body out of the normal plane of motion.  I enjoy jumping jacks and they do get your heart moving.

Rather than using the sit up or crunch machines, try swapping it out with planks.  Planks are better for your neck and spine while activating your deep abdominal muscles.  Remember, if you don't do planks on a regular basis, start with one or two and work your way up.

If none of those take your fancy, head out and play a game of basketball because when you are jumping, cutting, sprinting, and hopping your body is undergoing so much resistance. When you do your body weight activities such as push-ups, slow them down for better results.  Spend 3 to 5 seconds going down and back up because the slower pace makes your muscles work harder.

Be sure to switch out exercises so you don't do the same ones every day otherwise your body gets used to them.  Look at incorporating some yoga as a way of switching things up since it relies on body weight in many positions.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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