Whether you are already working out regularly or just making plans to get started with a fitness regimen, you need to understand one very significant point: you cannot do just cardio or just strength. Instead, the best plan is to incorporate both approaches to fitness into each day.
Why? Actually, there are several answers to that question. Firstly, your body composition (meaning the amount of muscle, fat and bone) determines issues like your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you both need and burn. Additionally, having muscle to support bone is a crucial factor at all times, but most importantly as we age. Protecting bones and joints, increasing your resting metabolic rate, and being able to demand a bit more from your body when needed are incredibly important - and not just for weight loss.
While it is incredibly easy to figure out ways to do cardio (walking to and from the office, running up and down stairs or simply heading to the gym and hopping on a treadmill or into the pool), strength training is a different matter altogether. Fortunately, there are easy ways to slip some strength training into a daily routine, even if you can't get to the gym.
Sneaky Ways to Workout
As one fitness expert writes, "There are easy ways to add strength training into your life without feeling like you have to force yourself at the gym to hoist the kind of barbells that professional weight lifters do."
What are these easy ways to add strength training? One of the simplest and most readily available to you is your own body weight. Just consider how hard you avoid doing exercises like push-ups or sit-ups. Both of these are exercises that rely on the body itself as the weight or resistance. So, consider how you can put your body weight to work.
Some good choices include:
- Plyometric exercises are those done with explosive movement, and which rely on you body weight as part of the process. Usually they include jumping movements and can feature a jump rope in addition to activities like high knees, split lunge jumps and box jumps.
- Playground exercises such as pull ups, squats, lunges, hanging lifts (hanging and then lifting the legs up and slowly back down) and box jumps, among others.
- Push-ups can be done in the modified version (knees down) or in the traditional plank style.
- And speaking of planks…this is a tremendous strengthening exercise and something you should really master.
Other exercises you can use to strength train easily and without a trip to the gym include the use of some gym gear. Don't panic, you don't have to invest in a full set of weights. Just a few hand weights or resistance bands and a kettle bell will be enough.
Keep them in your living room and simply get up off the sofa during commercials to lift the weights or use the resistance bands to strengthen the limbs. Swinging the kettle bell, too, is an incredibly challenging movement. Learn some exercises of this kind here.
You don't have to head to the gym or commit to rigorous training to strengthen, tone and improve the body.