What’s on your fitness syllabus this year? September is the perfect time to review your current workout plan, identify which strength training subjects need improving, and graduate on to more challenging aerobic assignments. You can’t prosper by practicing the same, stale skills you already know, or from playing hooky with your healthy habits. For fitness to flourish, a well-rounded curriculum is essential to help educate, engage, and energize.
If you need a tone-up tutorial to become a workout whiz, the outline below has all the exercise elements necessary for a successful weekly workout.
Prep and pep. While it’s tempting to skip your warm-up when tight on time, this part of your pump up is crucial for protecting and preparing your body for movement. In just five minutes you can improve circulation, boost flexibility, and raise your heart rate at a healthy, steady pace. By allowing your body ample time to turn up its temperature and ease into exercise, you’re less likely to sustain an injury and more likely to have an effective workout.
You don’t need to get fancy for your warm-up to work. Marching in place, arm circles, or walking works well.
Commit to consistent cardio. At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week is recommended by federal health officials to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. So whether you’re walking your dog or strolling your baby around the neighborhood, make a commitment to 30 minutes of cardio a day, five days a week. For those who enjoy a more vigorous workout, such as running or a HIIT circuit, aim for a total of 75 minutes each week. The key is to make it fun and feasible for your schedule. When you enjoy exercise, you are more apt to adhere to a workout program.
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Studious strength training. Resistance training improves your quality of life. It fortifies bones, builds stronger muscles, protects the joints, and enables you to move easily through your daily activities. Plus, lean muscle burns more calories than fatty tissue. To safely strength train and reap its rewards, aim for three days a week with an off day between. Weave this into your cardio workout for maximum results.
When creating your strength training program, the following three exercises should have a permanent spot on your list, with variations to avoid plateaus or boredom:
Lower your body to the floor so your hands are stacked below your shoulders, spine is straight, feet are hip-distance apart, and gaze is slightly forward. Hold for 30 seconds. To increase the challenge, add time to your plank or try option two.
From a plank pose, jump your feet wider than hip-width apart, then quickly jump them back to the starting position. This should be a controlled jump where the hips stay in line with your spine throughout. Continue this speedy sequence for 10 counts.
» READ MORE: 3 quick ways to protect and strengthen your knees
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart with your shoulders backs, eyes forward, and weight in your heels. Hinge back at your hips to lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through your heels to stand and squeeze your glutes at the top. Repeat 10 times.
Begin by standing with your feet together. Now, jump your feet out wide as you simultaneously hinge back at your hips, and lower your right hand down toward the floor so you graze it with your fingertips.
Next, push through your heels to jump back to the starting position. Refrain from jumping too high with each repetition as this can cause unnecessary impact on the joints when landing. Continue jumping back and forth, alternating the hand that touches down, for 10-12 counts.
Stand tall and take a step back with your right foot. With your weight evenly distributed between your front heel and the ball of your back foot, lower down until your front and back legs form a 90-degree angle. Don’t let your front knee extend beyond your toes.
Push through your front heel to stand, then lower again. Repeat 10 times before switching legs.
Take a large side step to the right, bend back at your hips, and lower down into a lunge. Your left leg should be fully extended while all your body weight rests on your right heel.
Push off your right foot to stand as you pull into the inside of your left knee. Hold to strengthen your balance for five counts before resuming a lunge. Practice 10 times, then switch legs.
When it comes to fitness, think of yourself as a student always aspiring to learn new things.
Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach in South Jersey. To learn more about her virtual training program, go to ashleyblakefitness.com.