The Treadmill is a Convenient Home Workout Choice

As people commit to improving their health, the treadmill has enjoyed a strong resurgence in popularity.

Many consumers prefer the option of exercising in their homes. Ownership of a treadmill allows you to avoid temperature extremes and gives you the ease of being able to exercising at any time of the day or night. The convenience of owning a treadmill may also translate into your using it more frequently.

The advantages of using a treadmill include building endurance, toning, burning calories (with subsequent weight loss), increasing metabolism, a reduction of inches and higher energy levels. A good workout helps keep you accountable too. You are far less likely to indulge in that piece of chocolate cake when you know exactly how long it takes to burn it off!

Treadmills are found in medical and rehabilitation facilities and are the gold standard for evaluating cardiovascular status. Technicians record the bodies’ response to the increased demand imposed on the heart during a treadmill workout, measuring oxygen consumption, monitoring the heart rate and evaluating heart rhythms.

Our bodies are made up of two different types of muscle fibers that differ in the way they move us. Generally speaking, many of us have about 50% slow twitch fibers and 50% fast twitch fibers in our bodies. Fast twitch fibers contract quickly, producing more power and strength. Fast twitch muscle fibers are activated during short bursts of speed and strength such as in sprinting or bodybuilding. These muscle fibers are also designed to grow larger in response to training. Slow twitch fibers contract slowly and for longer periods of time. Their purpose is to gradually increase endurance. The difference is noted in activities like cycling, running and swimming. A treadmill workout can engage both the fast and slow twitch fibers when you divide your workout time into segments of sprints and power walking.

When using your treadmill, it is important to wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear. Drink plenty of water to remain adequately hydrated. Warm up muscles slowly, gradually increasing the blood flow to them, thus avoiding strains and injuries. While your clothes may reflect inches and pound lost, keeping a log to monitor your progress will record the improvement in your endurance and fitness.

Before you purchase a treadmill, evaluate your fitness goals and expectations. Prices can vary tremendously, as do the many options available. Consider the warranty and factor in shipping or delivery and setup costs. If ordering online, go to a showroom and “test drive” the model you are interested in to ensure that it is comfortable and meets your needs. Whether buying new or used, read the reviews and ratings. Remember that you can always upgrade your treadmill as your fitness levels increase. Buying a used treadmill may be an affordable option and there are some great deals to be had, especially in the off-season. Witness the January fitness phenomenon as people honoring New Year’s resolutions invade fitness centers and gyms and purchase exercise equipment. By February, a significant number of people have abandoned their pledges to incorporate more exercise into their lives, leaving a plethora of gently used treadmills for sale on internet swap sites and newspaper want ads.

When evaluating a treadmill, it should feel stable. Steel alloy frames are more durable than aluminum. The deck size should be adequate to accommodate your stride while providing shock absorption to cushion the impact on your joints. Consider the length and width of the track. A shorter track may be sufficient for walking or light jogging whereas longer, wider belts are recommended for running. Most models have heart rate monitors that display speed, distance, and calories burned while the newer models feature touch screens. The controls should be within easy reach and comfortable to use. Ensure that the motor runs quietly and smoothly, allowing you to hear music or the TV while in use. A programmable, variable workout can alleviate boredom as you vary the intensity and style of your workout. Interval workouts and hill climbing can be displayed and mimics walking on hills. Some models have space saver designs that fold for easy storage. Two important safety features, especially with small children in the home, are an emergency off switch and a safety key. The safety key is similar to that on snowmobiles. If you fall off, the key is disengaged, stopping the unit. As a final reminder, be sure to consider the size of the room that you intend to put it in!

Easing Your Couch Potato Bones into a Healthy Routine of Exercises

Variety, being the spice of life, should also be the case when exercising. More exercise is better, right? “The more I do, the more I’ll lose!” Woah, that’s a risky attitude to take, not just to heart. You have to do a variety of exercises. Not just stretching, to increase your flexibility. Not just resistance training, to build up muscles and improve the strength capacities in your joints. Not just aerobic exercises to burn fat, boost your energy, and improve concentration. Although, if you’re motivated enough, you can do all those. In fact, you should be doing a little bit of each type.

Why are you taking up doing exercises now? Because your doctor told you to. Good enough reason. Lose weight, help reduce the risk of heart diseases, improve your posture, balance, body shape, appearance, even your sex appeal and drive. Committing to becoming more physically active requires research, planning, and preparation. The hardest thing, though, to get through initially will be your discomfort, especially since you’ve been stuck in the sedentary lifestyle for a long while. But you can do this.  Ease into it at first.

Really. Just wait a minute. Don’t just dive in to the pool and expect to thrash around in the warm water in order to lose weight and look and feel better. First you have to assess where you are in terms of fitness level. You can’t just jump right back into the habit of exercising, especially if you haven’t “laced up the shoes” since high school. Nor can you just leap into action inspired by the 2012 Olympic athletes’ performances—you have to know what you’re capable of doing and establish some primary fitness goals. Then you can branch out into the other forms of exercises.

Exercises—are your friends doing them? Good. Research through them. Ask your friends lots of questions, not just about gym fees, what to wear, and the price of tennis shoes.  Note which of your social networking friends are posting notices about the exercises they do. Ask them why. What benefits do they feel they get from bicycling, weightlifting, jogging, pilates, shadow boxing, yoga, dancing, dog walking? Visit your local library and browse through the books on physical training. Find what appeals to you.

One of the first exercises you should do is indeed the simplest—walk. Walk around your neighbourhood. Unplug the iPod and listen to the birds. Reconnect to nature where and when you can; this helps improve your mood as well; let the good smells of nature (fresh cut grass, wild flowers, trees) calm you. Being in a good mood keeps you motivated to do your exercises!

Start your walking with a goal of a short distance first and gradually increase your distance over time. After you become comfortable with your walking routine, spice it up! Find safe areas in your neighbourhood park where you can do stepping exercises, for example, a sturdy and low retaining wall. Find places where you can comfortably stretch, places where you can include arm exercises such as wall press ups. Build up your stamina enough to include carrying small hand weights.

Exercising is a great way to relieve stress. The effort of doing something good for yourself and your body increases your positive mood—so when you need to beat the blahs, just take half an hour and perform some of your favourite exercises!

Considering the quite wide menu of choices when it comes to exercises, how can you not find something that suits your personality, lifestyle, and schedule? But don’t force yourself to do too many; pace yourself.  If you see the variety of exercising activities like a smorgasbord, yes, you can have seconds, thirds… just watch your portions! Consult with a physical trainer in addition to your doctor as well so that you have a helpful plan and a guide along the route to health.

Choosing Your Ab Workouts

Workouts tend to focus on regions we need the most work on, and over the course of selecting your workout exercises, there are different routines that can yield results greater than others.  Ab workouts are traditionally the workouts that are left until last during the exercise routine, but are the key to maintaining a healthy overall body.

If you were to think of the limbs of your body as limbs of a tree, then the abdominal muscles form the tree trunk.  Abdominal muscles are the core of almost everything we do, therefore, keeping that core in the best shape possible with ab workouts only makes sense.

With ten different types of yoga, free weights, machine weights, resistance training, cross training and Pilates, there are many different types of ab workouts to choose from, but choosing the one that is correct for you is key to your success.  Choosing exercise routines that do not fit your lifestyle, or exercises that are not fun and interesting for you will likely mean you will not choose to do them as often and inevitably defeat the purpose.

Out of those ten varieties of yogic exercises, only three provide an ab workout or focus on abdominals.  Kundalini Yoga is a core workout on your abs and spine intended to free up the potential of your chakra.  Ashtanga Yoga is a physically demanding yoga, intended to keep you in very fast motion focusing on your arms and chest.  Prenatal Yoga is yoga for pregnant women and focuses on core work and breathing.

Free weights are a good way to exercise your abdominal muscles as some movements can target more than one muscle group, and also can add a degree of difficulty over doing the same exercise without weights.  Ab workouts with weights are considered more difficult exercises, and might be too challenging for the beginner, so consider this as an exercise you may want to grow into.  When beginning free weight core exercises, it is a good idea to start with the smallest weights possible like a 2.5-pound or 5-pound weight.

Fitness

Machine weights and resistance training are very similar as the weight applied is both controlled and restricted.  Targeting your abdominals in ab workouts with either a series of machines or a resistance machine is an easy and sometimes fun way to work on your abdominal groups.  Typically, in the bigger gyms, there is a circuit to do, and people enter the circuit and move through the designated machines in a rapid paced workout routine.  When starting to do circuits in a gym, it may be better to start in off peak hours so you get into the exercises without feeling pressured.

Pilates has evolved over the years to include many different types of props, but the basic fundamental exercises involved in Pilates involve only a mat and a chair.  Pilates works on six principles, concentration, control, centering, flow, precision and breathing, but all of these principles focus on the core of your body, which is a great way to do ab workouts as well as conditioning the muscles around the spine and pelvic area.

As always, it is a good idea to consult a physician when planning your exercise routines, as people suffering from particular conditions may find some exercises detrimental to their condition.  Regardless, ab workouts will always yield a healthy core, so (with the aid of your doctor) determine which ones are right for you and happy exercising.

Getting Desired Results from Ab Workouts

If you ask most people what their top fitness goal is, many will say it’s to have toned abs. There is just something about a flat, toned stomach that appeals to people. Many people will also report having trouble in this area, saying that even when they do ab workouts, they are still not necessarily getting the results they want. Some complain that even though their stomachs are relatively flat and show no protrusion, there is an absence of definition around the abdominal muscles, so they are not getting that six-pack look that they desire. Others will report that they can feel those muscles getting stronger, and have built up great strength and resistance in their abdominal area, but they still seem to have belly fat sticking out. The reason that many people have issues in this area is because they don’t know that there is a difference between burning fat and building muscle, and that certain exercise will only achieve one goal or the other.

Most people who want to achieve toned abs do ab workouts that target the muscles in that area. Sit-ups, crunches, and other similar ab workouts will certainly over time build up your abdominal muscles. You will notice that these exercises will become easier over time and you will be able to do more of each, because you will be building those muscles up. However, muscle-building exercises only burn a certain amount of fat, so you might not quite see the definition you were hoping for. It is still possible to retain a protruding belly even if you have strong abdominal muscles. These muscle-building exercises are a crucial part of achieving the look you want, but they are only half of the equation.

One of the common misconceptions about burning fat is that you have to target the areas where you want to burn the fat. This isn’t always true. One of the best ways to burn fat is through cardio exercise, which ends up burning fat throughout your whole body. Running, dancing, cycling, and other high-action exercises are a necessary part of achieving an overall trim appearance, as long as you maintain a healthy diet as well. Maintaining a healthy diet and a lot of activity are enough to keep you perfectly fit and healthy, however, if you want those toned, visible muscles, you have to do targeted exercises for each of those areas. Cardio exercise might leave you lean and trim, but if you want to go any further than that, your best bet is to head to do some ab workouts that really build up your muscles.

Balance is the key to achieving success in many areas, and ab workouts are no different. You must combining muscle-building workouts that target your abdominal muscles with general, cardio exercise and a healthy diet in order to burn fat. When combined, these two types of exercise can be a powerful combination and will produce the results you were hoping to achieve in the first place.

Ab Workouts are Not Abnormal

Ab workouts are perhaps the most requested set of exercises for the weight loss/get-in-shape/be-fit/that’s-my-New-Year’s-resolution crowd because everybody wants to have a flat belly. The problem is that you can’t get a flat belly by just doing sit-ups. (Sit-ups are also a risky exercise for people prone to or those who have osteoporosis—it’s possible to fracture a vertebrae.) But don’t let that faze you from exercising your abdominal muscles; in addition to wanting a “flat belly” appearance, you’d also like to have improved posture and balance. And what are the abdominal muscles called, you may ask? You have five of them:

•    Obliquus externus abdominis

•    Obliquus internus abdominis

•    Transversus abdominis

•    Rectus abdominis

•    Linea alba

Sure sound impressive, don’t they? Well, they are. All of these muscles help provide movement and support for your trunk, and they also assist in the breathing process. Further, they provide protection for the internal organs. So yes, your abdominal muscles are a very important muscle group!

Ab workouts approved by your personal trainer contain the exercises you need to perform in order to strengthen and define the stomach muscles.  Regardless of whichever exercise discipline you choose to follow (Pilates, yoga, tai chi, perhaps even more than one), remember to perform within the prescribed limits of your fitness level: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert.

Ab workouts through strength training are the most effective in terms of changing your body’s physical appearance since a lean, well-proportioned body is only achieved through losing body fat and gaining muscle. Your ab workouts will include crunches, machine abdominal curls (only attempt this exercise when your abdominals are strong—there’s no need to strain or injure your back in pursuit of the “six-pack”), lower abdomen raises, twists, and combinations of these. Even performing the push-up using a stability ball is a good ab workout.

Ab workouts to give you flexibility include doing total body stretches, as well as the standing side stretch, the seated side stretch, and the sphinx. The best set of Ab workouts you can do for yourself feature no exercise whatsoever—just watch what you eat and drink. You don’t want that beer gut anymore? Eliminate alcohol from your diet. If you’re not interested in eliminating alcohol completely from your life (that is a big change), instead, just reduce your intake—lower your limits to 8 units per week for men and 6 units per week for women. (e.g., one unit equals one glass of wine, or one measure of spirits, or half a pint of beer.) Keep hydrated by drinking two liters of water a day.

Regardless if you are doing ab workouts primarily to achieve a certain look or not, (e.g.,  a flat belly), you will look and feel better anyway by strengthening your body’s core and building up your aerobic capacity. The key aspect for all abdominal exercises is to maintain control in the stomach; do not let the momentum of your body allow you to make the reps. The benefit is in performing fewer high-quality stomach exercises.

Workouts for Women and How to Achieve Optimal Health

As women get older, fat and extra weight tends to appear slowly. The changes are usually gradual, until one day a look into a full-length mirror, brings the reflection of a different person. Thankfully, this is not a reason to despair. With the workouts for women available today, it’s easy and fun to shed the unwanted pounds, and replace them with youthful vigor.

Not Every Workout is Ideal

Just about any type of exercise is better than none at all, but not every workout is ideal.  It is vital to use workouts for women that are targeted specifically to the needs of women. A workout that will tone your whole body and focus on your problem areas, like your buttocks, abs, arms or thighs, will be ideal.

Workouts for Women Using a Personal Trainer

One of the most efficient ways to lose weight and keep it off while getting into tip-top shape is using a personal trainer. Trainers are highly experienced when it comes to weight loss and exercise programs. They can do more than just optimize your personal exercise routine; they will also be straightforward with what you have to do to reach your weight-loss goals. As well, a fitness trainer will give you encouragement to stay motivated. They are professionals when it comes to laying out a plan catered to you, and your fitness needs.

Workouts for Women Using a Swiss Ball

Working out with a Swiss ball is one of the best ways to achieve an optimal fitness level, when combined with a weight-loss program. As well, they help in improve posture and they come in various sizes to fit different exercise routines. Smaller balls are easier to maneuver, but the larger ones are perfect for flexibility and balance exercises.

Yoga Workouts for Women

Yoga is a popular way for women to get into shape. Not only is it effective for weight loss, it is also good for muscle toning, stress management and relaxing the mind. There is a wide range of yoga workouts tailored specifically to women that will make you feel rejuvenated. Another benefit of using Yoga to work out and lose weight is that it stimulates your metabolic rate.

Besides the exercise suggestions listed above, there are many additional program choices. However, whatever workouts for women you find you like the best; the most important goal is for you to regain your fitness level and confidence. Don’t put off taking that extra step towards healthy living and optimal weight. Your body will love you for it.

If you want to lose weight and get in shape using the above methods, take a free tour of online personal training websites dedicated to helping women get physically fit. They offer workouts for women, personal training, yoga, Swiss Ball videos and much more. The best part is that you can get the body you want, and you don’t even have to leave your house.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout Videos

At home workout videos have become quite popular in recent years; especially since the variety of workouts and workout styles has increased.  There are videos available that cater to all needs; whether you’re a beginner or your looking to sculpt instead of bulk up, you’ll be able to find the workout videos that are best for you.

One of the most popular kinds of videos amongst women in particular is at home Yoga regiments and Pilate’s workouts.  These types of workouts range from introductory to advanced/expert and even have variations which can be utilized during and after pregnancy. These workout videos make the most of static positions and using your own body weight to develop your core and strengthen muscle groups.  Yoga also incorporates some minor weights and resistance training but it largely focuses on endurance training.  These are so popular amongst women because frequently, for women, the goal is to tone and refine muscles – as well as lose weight – without bulking up muscles.

Some of the most popular at home workout videos for men are ones that utilize muscle confusion techniques like Cross fit.  Muscle confusion is the philosophy that, if your daily workout routine never repeats the same workout maneuver on back to back days, your body never has the opportunity to become accustom to a workout.  This is important because once your body becomes accustom to a move, like a push-up, it adapts to become more efficient at it and your muscle building ability plateaus.  By constantly changing your workout routine your body is never given the opportunity to plateau, thus you maximize the amount of muscle you build and weight you lose. Another great thing about muscle confusion routines is that you’re always doing something new and different which keeps things interesting, helps to motivate and never leaves you feeling like you’ve mastered something.  You are always learning and challenging yourself.

Workout videos are great because you can use them in the convenience of your own home without having to make a special trip to the gym.  Attending a gym can be very motivating because of the atmosphere but sometimes finding the time to get to a gym is next to impossible.  People are leading increasingly busy lifestyles; with hobbies, work, family and extracurricular activities sometimes personal fitness can take a back seat to the rest of your life.  Workout videos make it possible to maintain your fitness levels on your own schedule for a nominal, onetime fee.

The great thing about modern workout videos is that they are available online.  Not only can you cut out the time spent traveling to and from a gym but now you can eliminate the time spent shopping for the video you want.  Finding your perfect workout online is easy and highly customizable.  You’ll be able to get workouts tailored for you based on your sex, your age or even the fitness equipment you own.  There really is no excuse anymore for not getting in a few good workouts a week.  Most online videos can be selected based on time frames as well so if you only have a spare twenty minutes, you’ll definitely be making the most of it.

Get Fit Fast with Workout Videos

If you want to get into the shape of your life, but don’t have time to go to the gym, workout videos are the best way to get fit, fast.  Not only can you exercise in the sanctity of your own home; you can set your own pace, and there are a ton of workout videos to choose from. Not to mention, they can be a lot fun, motivational and a great way to save money too.

The Diversity of Workout Videos

The popularity of exercise videos started in the 80s, and although they dipped slightly, recently they have risen once again to be one of the most popular workout methods. Part of their popularity is because of their diversity. There are videos for any type of training you can think of, for both men and women. As well, there are DVDs for every kind of fitness level. Whether you’re at a beginner, or a novice fitness level, you can find a video to suit your needs.

Have fun and get Motivated

The word exercise sounds like work; so many people shy away from it. One of the best ways to tackle this demon is to use workout videos to get in shape. They are fun, entertaining and a great motivational tool.

Fun & Entertaining

Although all workout videos are designed to make exercise fun and entertaining, people have different versions of what they consider fun. The great thing about this with exercise videos is that you are guaranteed to find one you will enjoy working out with. There are videos with the trainer alone, or with a class. Some use props, such as a Swiss Ball and others have no props. Some have loud high-energy music, while others are mellower. There is also a wide range of intensity levels.

Motivational

Natural motivation doesn’t exist. It is something that has to be achieved. Workout videos are the perfect strategy to build up motivation. The fitness instructors who create exercise videos know how hard getting motivated can be. As a result, they make sure that their videos are inspiring and energetic. Their goal is to get you excited about getting into shape.

Save Money

When you use workout videos to get in shape, you save money, because you only have to pay for the video one time or not at all! Buying a gym membership can get expensive, and some even continue to charge you when you stop going for whatever reason. For the cost of a membership, you can afford numerous workout videos. You could even buy a set that works on different parts of your body.

Fitness training with workout videos has become really important in recent years because of the high levels of obesity found throughout the world today. People don’t get outside or exercise as much as they used to. Thankfully, due to technology and the world-wide web, getting fit while having access to a personal trainer is easier than ever. If you’re looking for an affordable way to get in shape, visit online personal training websites that offer workout training and exercise videos to help you get there fast.

Getting Beyond Routine Workout Routines

Looking for workout routines is the first step in building a healthy exercise regimen. Most of the time people just try and make up a routine from the few exercises they know, and the results are typically either non-existent or are unwanted. Without knowing what muscles do what or how the body works, an exercise routine can become like trying to build a skyscraper by starting with the top.

For example, there’s a common misconception that working out a specific area of the body will reduce fat in that area. Because of this, you have a lot of women and men including sit-ups in their workout routines to reduce fat on their stomach. This will actually result in their belly looking larger.

This is because fat isn’t connected to specific muscles. Depending on the individual, fat is distributed to certain centers around the body (some people grow larger in their stomach while others carry fat on their thighs), and these centers of fat are accessed for fuel when the body encounters a need to burn more energy than it’s used to. Workout routines that don’t include some form of cardio don’t burn fat, so those sit-ups are building up abdominal muscle while not reducing fat. Eventually, those huge abs just sit under the table of fat, only pushing out the fat further, resulting in what is more commonly known as a “gut.”

This isn’t to say that sit-ups in workout routines don’t reduce fat. But the amount of fat burned doing sit ups is almost negligible compared to a brisk jog, because jogging uses more muscle groups (your legs, arms, diaphragm, heart, back, and abs), so it requires more energy.

Something else to consider when building workout routines is how often you use free weights, like dumbbells, in comparison to using machines. The difference between the two is that machines often allow for more weight to be lifted during specific movements because they allow for focus on particular muscles, giving attention to very specific parts. Exercises that use free weights require the use of stabilizer muscles, so the weight is often spread out to a wider range of smaller muscles, making it difficult to push or pull the same amount of weight as if you were using a machine.

While workout routines using a machine allow for directed muscle growth, using particular muscles and pushing them to their maximum ability, free weights often tone muscles with a more natural look because the benefits are spread evenly across muscles that would be used in everyday activity. Depending on what kind of look an athlete is after, the type of exercise and the type of movement becomes very important.

While the Internet is a great resource for discovering new techniques and ideas for developing a stronger, leaner, or all around healthier body, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how the body reacts to exercise. Even having a single consultation with a fitness trainer in the basics of exercise can do wonders for an individual’s understanding and allow him or her to create workout routines that aren’t based on myth or misunderstanding.