All Entries For cardio
Having a job that requires sitting most or all of the day doesn't mean that you can't fit in extra calorie burning activities throughout the day. For me, I work from home and am on the computer a lot of the day, however, I take breaks as often as I can to get up and walk around to stretch my legs, which also gives my eyes a rest from the computer screen. Some of my favorite exercise breaks include walking around the house at a fast pace, walking up and down the stairs, dancing around the living room (my dogs really love this!), or taking the dogs for a quick walk around the neighborhood. Before working from home though, I worked in a conventional office and would do everything I could to get up and move. I would walk to my co-worker's office/cubicle rather than email them, take the stairs as much as possible and go for walks during my lunch hour. Even though I'm not in a conventional office now, I still make sure to work in ways to burn extra calories (in addition to my formal exercise) throughout the day.
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We all have our own cardio personalities. Some swear by sweating in the great outdoors. Others prefer the air conditioning. You might prefer exercising solo, while your best friend lives for the contagious energy in a Spinning class.
Whether you're a diehard gym-goer, or (like me) only set foot in the gym when the weather hits unbearable extremes, we all have a few things in common:
We want our workouts to be more fun than boring. We want to get the best possible results for our efforts. And we want to feel like the time is speeding by—not dragging.
Well, good news! This simple workout technique will help you reach all three goals above, whether you love cardio machines or only use them as a last resort. Read More ›
When I first set out to lose weight, I didn't know much about exercise. I had spent most of my teen years and early 20s finding ways to avoid exercise, instead choosing to control my weight by restricting calories and other, unhealthy methods. I thought sweating was gross, running made my lungs burn, and I didn't like sports.
So I walked. At first just the two miles home from work, then to work, then longer routes… it felt good to move, then time outside allowed me to clear my mind, and the weight did start to come off. Eventually I joined a gym and started integrating different cardio into my workouts, usually the elliptical. Cardio back then was just something I did to burn calories, not something I particularly enjoyed.
It wasn't until I joined SparkPeople as a member and an employee that I found my two primary forms of cardio: running and Spinning. I love challenging myself in a tough Spinning class, adding resistance until my legs burn and pushing myself to complete the sprints, jumps, and other killer moves. (That Coach Nicole is one tough Spinning teacher! She loves jumps on the bike!) And running gives me time to think, or not think. It's a moving meditation for me, and it allows me to shed stress while getting a great workout. Read More ›
If you attend workout classes regularly, then you probably know how a good instructor can help you get a really great workout. One of the things I love about fitness classes is that I tend to work harder, try more things and get a better workout than I would if I was working out on my own. I've always thought that way about Spinning, for example. I love to teach it (and take it), but if I had to make myself exercise on a stationary bike in the middle of the gym for an hour, I'd lose interest and probably wouldn't push myself very hard. On top of that, I'd probably find a way to cut my workout short out of boredom.
But what if you can't always make it to a class? Or you just don't feel comfortable in that group environment? What about the times when you're in a rut with your elliptical or treadmill routine and just need a little boost?
That's where MotionTraxx comes in. What started as a free music podcast (available on iTunes) has expanded to feature some expert-created workouts that you can listen to while you work out. These trainers have created workouts for the treadmill, elliptical, bike—and even your own body (no equipment needed). MotionTraxx recently shared a few of these workouts with us. Find out what they're like—and whether they're right for you. Read More ›
I try a lot of workout DVDs. But few really meet my standards for delivering a good workout with good cueing that's easy to follow and safe. But every workout DVD I've ever tried by Amy Dixon has been a winner.
I was SO excited to receive her newest titles ("Breathless Body Volume 2: The Edge" and "Give Me 10: Core Cuts"), but my busy schedule prevented me from trying them sooner—which is too bad. Because when I made the time, I adored these workouts just like I had previous her previous titles. What's more, I think YOU will love them, too. Here's a rundown on what to expect in each one. Read More ›
After being a member (and now an employee) of SparkPeople, I have learned that having an all-or-nothing attitude about healthy eating and exercising isn't something that is advised or healthy overall. With that type of attitude I would sometimes feel that if I didn't have time to exercise for at least 30 minutes or more, that I was wasting my time and effort, which is far from the truth. This is something that I also see members post on SparkPeople's message boards once in a while as well, so I know I was not alone with those thoughts.
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I heart Amy Dixon. She's a veteran fitness instructor, master trainer and creator of many wonderful workouts you've probably seen in fitness magazines and DVDs alike. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year at the IDEA World Fitness Convention and she is a real treat: super sweet, super fit and down to earth. It makes it hard for me to hate her when she kicks my booty in her DVDs, which she always does (in a good way).
Amy's latest DVD "Breathless Body: The Ultimate Calorie Burn" ($14.99, amazon.com) capitalizes off the trendy "Tabata" style interval training, which involves 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. Tabata training is touted as one of the most efficient ways to boost aerobic endurance and fat burning, and although I had read about it, but hadn't experienced it until I tried this DVD. I have to admit, I was a little scared. So how did I fare? And is this DVD right for you? Read More ›
As the days get shorter, it gets dark earlier and cold temperatures become the norm, my opportunities for exercising outside start to dwindle. I get out as much as I can and I’m fine with bundling up if I have to, but I’m not crazy about running in the dark in an area with limited sidewalks. Often I end up heading to my basement for a run on the treadmill, but it really never gives me the same amount of satisfaction. Now a study shows that the physical benefits might be the same, but the mental benefits between an outdoor and indoor run might be different. Read More ›
So you think you CAN'T dance?
Do you feel like most workouts don't work for your size or physical limitations?
Or maybe you simply don't like to follow structured workouts like classes or DVDs?
I promise you that this DVD will change that. It's the most innovative workout I have ever seen. Ever. I don't use those words lightly, and I've never used them before today.
Misty Tripoli's Body Groove: Delicious Dance DVD belongs in every exerciser's collection. Whether you love to dance or hate it. Whether you're super fit or just starting out. Whether you have mobility issues, physical limitations, or are the epitome of health. Every single person can enjoy and benefit from this DVD. Find out why everyone who has tried it at SparkPeople loved it so much—including one tester who (formerly) hated dancing and workout DVDs in general! Read More ›
I've been really bad. You see, there's this new DVD—actually set of DVDs—that I tried months ago and loved. I mean L-O-V-E-D. And even though I continue to work out with these DVDs and still enjoy them, I haven't shared them with you. I know, it's completely unforgiveable. But I'm finally finding the time to share my this secret now, and the good news is that you, too, can now benefit from this fitness trifecta by Andrea Metcalf called "Keeping Fit" (Acacia, 2010). These were sent to the SparkPeople offices and I've been keeping "Keeping Fit" all to myself, and I don’t plan on giving up these DVDs any time soon.
The set ($32.49 at amazon.com) contains three distinct titles: Strength, Cardio and Pilates. Each DVD has 60 minutes of total workout time that can easily be split up into multiple 5-minute segments.
Based on the description on this box, it's actually geared toward middle age exercisers, designed to help "build lean muscle, increase bone mass, and enhance balance and flexibility so you can remain active." So I was actually expecting a pretty easy workout when I first popped in the DVDs. Boy was I surprised! Read More ›
I'm one of those people who likes to challenge my body with a tough workout. I'm not one to go until I get sick, but I do like that feeling of accomplishment when I finish a workout I knew would be strenuous. Even though it might be hard to get through and it takes a few minutes to recover, afterward I feel good about what I've done. My husband is always encouraging me to get out and exercise if I've had a rough day because he knows it will improve my mood. New research shows I'm not the only one who gets a mental boost from a tough workout. Read More ›
The old running adage is as follows, “in order to run, one must run”—this is commonly referred to as the Principle of Specificity of Training. In other words, in order for you to become a more efficient runner, you must spend time running. But doing too much of the same activity day in and day out, regardless of the activity that you do, may lead to overuse injuries, burnout and a decrease in your running performance. This is where cross-training can be a huge benefit for runners. Cross-training allows a runner a break from the repetitive strain of running while allowing you to continue to build an aerobic base, develop stronger muscles, enhance muscle recovery, improve muscle balance, while adding variety to your running routine.
For an injured runner, cross training workouts allow you to continue building an aerobic base and maintain or build muscle strength while recovering from your injury. However, it is important that you ask your physician what exercises you have been cleared to do so that you do not do further damage and delay your return to running.
Cross-training activities should not be a replacement for a scheduled run, however from time to time doing a cross-training activity in place of an easy run may actually enhance your running. Just be certain you still take a full day off each week for complete rest, preferably before your long run day so that you receive the greatest benefit of your long runs.
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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about my current running injury. I’ve got Achilies tendonitis, and have been doing weeks of physical therapy which will (hopefully) get me running again. When the therapist told me I wouldn’t be running for at least 6 to 8 weeks, I panicked for a few reasons.
First, I love to run and use it as a stress reliever. So I’d have to find a new hobby, at least temporarily. Second, I didn’t know what else I was going to do for exercise. Aside from a few days of strength training each week, running has been my only form of cardio for a very long time. I became a very fit runner and was proud of the fact that I could easily go out for a 6-8 mile run any day of the week. And because I liked it so much, I never saw much of a reason to try any other activities. That is, until I became injured. Read More ›
What if I told you there was an exercise technique that could burn more calories—and fat—in less time that was also fun? You may think that I was hawking some fitness gadget in an infomercial, or simply lying to you, but neither of those theories hold true. The amazing workout is called interval training. During interval training, exercisers alternate between high-intensity efforts and low-intensity recovery efforts during a single cardio (aerobic) workout session. It can be as simple as sprinting between two telephone poles and then walking for the next two, or a regimented plan using a stopwatch and specific training schedule. Either way, adding just a couple sessions of interval training to your workouts each week is sure to boost your fitness level, accelerate your fat loss and help you beat boredom.
Here are 7 reasons to try interval training yourself, plus tips and workouts to get you started. Read More ›
Fall in out in full force where I live, always competing against spring for the title of my favorite season. While I don't enjoy the darker days and the chilly nights, I love the lack of humidity, the changing leaves, and the moderate temperatures that are characteristic of most Autumn days here. When the scenery is beautiful and the temperature comfortable, almost any activity—including exercise—seems more fun and enjoyable. Here are seven worthwhile pastimes that can help you get fit, burn calories and enjoy the beautiful outdoors before winter strikes! Read More ›