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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Playing Your Cardio Right

To many, that half-hour a day is the most enjoyable, most therapeutic part of your agenda. To others, it's as dreadful as taking out the trash and doing the dishes. Yet, like your household chores, you know it's something you simply must do.

Cardiovascular activity, referred to simply as "cardio," should be as much a part of your body-sculpting endeavors as pulling and pushing those metal plates. As often as you're pumping the iron, you should also be pumping your heart.

Unfortunately, Americans today are more glued to the screen, whether it be the television, Nintendo, or yes, even the Internet. It has been concluded that the majority of Americans have insufficient cardiovascular activity in their daily schedules, thus leading to a cartload of various health problems.

The 30 minutes per day that you should reserve for cardio work should always entail exercises that are enjoyable, manageable, and of course, safe.

So if you're ready to get sweaty, here are a few wise choices:

RUNNING (Outdoors): Believe it or not, this exercise reminds me a lot of Howard Stern. Like the infamous DJ, you either love it or hate it. Beyond question, however, is the simple fact that running is a fantastic way to whip you into shape and provide full cardiovascular fitness. Running is a full-body exercise in which only you channel the motion, resistance, and weight distribution. There are no wheels or cycles doing any of the work for you.

Sometimes, running can actually be too rigorous an exercise and for bodybuilders it's been known to foil some of that hard-earned muscle mass. Also, running can take a considerable toll on your joints, particularly your knees and ankles as well as your abused feet.

TREADMILL: This may seem like the equivalent to a run through the park or the neighborhood, and in a lot of ways, it is. Running is the same vigorous exercise whether done outdoors or in. Yet, the treadmill, because of its smooth rubbery conveyor belt is a lot more merciful on your joints. It doesn't wear and tear your body the way running on the tarred street will. There is no pounding-like effect.

However, the treadmill does not offer the natural variations such as hills and curves which provides for a more rigorous workout on the streets. Also, the fresh air that can fill and expand your lungs is not a benefit from an indoor facility.

STAIRMASTER & STEPPERS: Some people refer to these devices simply as "sweat machines." close by. Stairmasters, whether they're the rotating kind or the step versions, are both excellent methods of losing weight and shedding body fat.

Yet, many fitness experts have concluded that stairs work may be insufficient in your quest to get in shape. For one, the exercise relies solely on lower body movement and tends to abandon the upper torso. Too often, people rest their arms on the bars at their sides, taking some of the resistance (your body weight) out of your legs.

STATIONARY BIKES: When you ride the stationary bike, it feels like you aren't going anywhere. That's because you're not. But whether or not you're making strides with your cardiovascular health is another matter. While these bikes are beneficial in raising the heart level, they also provide far less strain on the knees and back than other methods of cardio and are excellent for toning up the quadriceps.

The workout you'll get from a stationary bike, however, is of the low-impact variety and like the scenery in front of you, it may feel like you're not going anywhere, especially if you've set high fitness goals for yourself.

SWIMMING: Go on and make a splash. This is an excellent cardiovascular activity in that it is a total body exercise and hits the various muscles in the body. The water provides an excellent form of resistance that will get your heart pumping in no time. The benefits for the heart and lungs are endless.

As for the down side? There's only one.

Not every fitness club has a swimming pool.

Vitamins & Supplements - Find a large selection of vitamins and supplements for your nutritional needs. You will find supplements for all your health, sports, bodybuilding & fitness needs. We carry all major name brands. Copyright ApolloSupplements.com - MuscleMaster

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Running on Empty

A sexy pair of legs moseys its way down a soft, vacuumed carpet, around a bend, and through a long, narrow aisle.

Suddenly, these shapely stems, which are encased in bright spandex, dissolve into a jungle of many others, instantly blending into the vibrant surroundings like chameleons. The long row of gams seems endless. They're shaking, they're baking, they're working like jackhammers - together in harmony - as if they were all drilling for oil.

The machines drown out the booming disco racket from the overhead speakers. All you hear, aside from the constant hum of machinery, is metal on metal, minus the smear of grease.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

The stunning blonde attached to these legs peers down at a dark screen. At first, it looks like she's about to indulge in a game of Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, but in actuality, her ensuing fun is of a much different variety. This woman is about to work out.

After punching in a few keys as if it were tax time, her hips slowly begin to grind, and just like that, the fun has begun.

Needless to say, the year is 1999 and what once was accomplished with such basic simplicity has now entered the world of hi-tech devices and advanced microchips.

To a new patron, who just wandered through the door, it all seems a bit pretentious as he peers over the motoring array of Stairmasters, steppers, treadmills, and stationary bikes.

The observer smirks and chuckles, knowing well that, not so long ago, for the goal at hand, two legs and an old pair of Nikes were all that was required.

However, the art of running seems a forgotten trade, not just for the random observer, but for the fitness public in general. For the mainstream crowd looking to foil the flab (and perhaps partake in the social aspects), a nice, honest jog through the park loses out to a sweat-session on the stairs any corporate day of the week.

Yet, one fact remains, the same fact that has survived both the tests of time and the endless evolution of technology. Nothing will whip you into shape faster and more effectively than a good, primitive run.

Aside from the fresh air that expands your lung capacity, something you can't get at an indoor gym, running continues to stand as the leader in conditioning, fat burning, and keeping your heart rate up. Just compare the three miles down Main Street with the same distance on the rubbery conveyor belt of a treadmill. The difference in the way you feel is astounding.

But one such concept factoring in the demise of running is the belief that it is a muscle man's worst enemy. Reports that running will chisel away on that hard-earned beef have been relentless. Thus, the running fad has come to heel a bit, almost seemingly limited to the hard-core crowd.

The experts say that the ideal method, however, to avoiding such a tragedy is to jog lightly for the first twenty minutes and then upgrade to a more vigorous pace thereafter. After the twenty-minute segment, the body generally kicks into the fat-burning business as opposed to the muscle-consuming business. Remaining at a steady, moderate pace (say 70 percent), and ditching any hopes of becoming the next Jesse Owens would seem the most logical approach, especially for new runners.

Besides, doesn't a nice stroll along a quiet country road amid the birds and the tress sound somewhat appealing? Doesn't it beat gaping at the sweat-drenched back of the guy on the Stairmaster in front of you?

If this is you, then perhaps it's finally time to leave those noisy treadmills and squeaky stationary bikes behind ? far enough behind to choke on your dust.

Vitamins & Supplements - Find a large selection of vitamins and supplements for your nutritional needs. You will find supplements for all your health, sports, bodybuilding & fitness needs. We carry all major name brands. Copyright ApolloSupplements.com - MuscleMaster

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