Regardless of the latest and greatest fitness fads, looking and feeling better comes down to good old-fashioned exercise and a healthy diet. The key to optimizing those exercise results? Ensuring that your fitness training program is as well-rounded and healthy as the meal on your plate.
1. Aerobic Fitness
Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is the foundation of most fitness programs. The better your aerobic fitness, the more efficiently your heart, blood vessels and lungs transport oxygen throughout your body. When your aerobic fitness is good your body is prepared for physical tasks such as running to your car in the rain or dashing up a couple of flights of stairs.
Aerobic exercise includes activities that use your muscle groups while increasing your heart rate. Walking, biking, swimming, dancing and jogging are typical aerobic exercises, but aerobic exercise can also include raking leaves, gardening and even house cleaning. Try to get a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
2. Strength Training
Strength training at least a few times per week can help you increase bone strength and muscular fitness and tone. It can also help you maintain muscle mass while in the process of losing weight.
Most fitness centers offer free weights, resistance machines and other tools for strength training, but a gym membership isn’t necessary to reap the benefits of strength training. Hand-held weights may work just as well. Resistance bands are another inexpensive option. Your own body weight counts, too. Try push-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.