herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Secret of shaping up is the balanced workout

fitness

With the great weather we're having, it's time to get into shape and be ready for the beach. The first stage is to make a definite commitment and draw up a plan for your training. There are 168 hours in a week, and it takes only about three hours of workout time to achieve your goals over the course of a programme.

To develop your body to its fullest, you need to think in terms of balance. An ideal total body fitness regime involves activities that are continuous, rhythmic and involve the entire body, especially the large muscle groups.

You should combine aerobic exercises to build cardiorespiratory endurance; circuit weight-training to develop balanced muscular strength and muscular endurance; and stretching, to ensure a full range of motion and prevent injuries.

Choose an aerobic activity. There are plenty to help you improve the capacity and efficiency of the cardiorespiratory system. A few are running, Fartlek running, cycling, swimming, rowing and, if done with sufficient duration and sustained intensity, aerobic walking and aerobic dance. Choose one that appeals to you.

conditioning

Add circuit weight-training. Many physiologists recommend that before you start an aerobic exercise programme which may strain your body's joints, you should first strengthen the muscles and connective tissue that surround those joints, utilising a circuit weight-training programme.

This training is an ideal conditioning system - a balanced workout for every major muscle group. Whether you are an aspiring young athlete or weekend tennis player, strong, well-conditioned muscles will help your body perform better, look better and help prevent injuries.

Remaining flexible is important. Dedicating time to flexibility work is something people often leave out of their regimes. It can improve your performance, reduce injuries and make you feel great. Never use stretching as a warm-up unless it's dynamic stretching. Static stretching of cold muscles can cause strains and pains, so get the blood flowing with some light jogging, skipping or cycling before you try to stretch muscles.

After you work-out, gently stretch the muscles in a slow, static manner, holding each position for 15 to 30 seconds. If you experience pain or if the muscle is trembling, you may have stretched too far.

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