I am so glad that is over with…I just submitted my final paper for the online class I was taking over the last couple of weeks. Interesting topic, but what a drag doing work the first few weeks of my summer vacation. I know I should feel lucky to still have plenty more time off, but I don’t enjoy writing papers. Unless it’s a paper about running…
Speaking of running, today is my cross training day. A lot of people ride their bikes, swim or go to the gym and do a cardio machine in their XT day. But, I like to work my muscles. Strength training is such a vital exercise, often overlooked for cardiovascular activities, which some people prefer. The attraction to cardio is sweat. When you speed up your heart rate, perspiration follows. And the more it pours, the more accomplished a person feels. Don’t you agree? After a great run or bike ride, if you are dripping sweat all the way down to your ankles, don’t you feel like you had the workout of all workouts?
That’s all good. But, let’s not neglect strength training. And that doesn’t necessarily mean lifting weights. You can work out with nothing but your own body weight and still receive the benefits of weight lifting. Personally, I enjoy pumping iron. I have a bench and a few dumbbells, a radio and a fan. That’s all I need. But it is important to know what you are doing.
Good form is essential to avoiding injuries and promoting increased muscular strength and endurance. You should move within the correct range of motion for the specific exercise at a slow and controlled rate. You should always feel that you are in control of the weight. Don’t let the weight control you, or your form will suffer. It is always a good idea to consult with a personal trainer to get you started on a program specific to your goals.
Lately, I have been moving out of my weight room to complete my strength training workouts. I worked out with the SEAL team a few weeks back, which inspired me to add some basics to my weekly routine. Although many of the exercises we did that day would make my chiropractor gasp, there are still plenty of things we can do with our own body weight that won’t ruin our spines.
I have added a body weight circuit to my workout. A circuit just means I do one set of everything without stopping and then I go back to the beginning and start another set. My circuit this morning included push-ups, walking lunges, side plank, front plank, other side plank, squats and dips on my ottoman. I repeated that 3 times. I also threw in some “frog” crunches I learned on an OnDemand workout and I followed it all with some breathing techniques taught to me by my aforementioned chiropractor.
Working on muscular strength and endurance will improve my running because I will have stronger core muscles for support during my long runs. Also, improving my leg strength by doing lunges and squats will help me run faster and give me more power to get up hills.
There are other benefits to strength training. It helps prevent osteoporosis because it increases your bone density. It helps people manage arthritis symptoms. It helps with balance and coordination. And, of course, it makes you look good! So, make sure you include it in your workout routine.