There are so many different types of exercise, but if asked to categorize them, people often lump them into three categories. The first is cardiovascular exercise. This is any aerobic exercise that puts your lungs and heart to work. The second is strength-based exercise, which includes weight lifting and other exercises focused on making your muscles stronger. The third is stretching, which focuses on elongating muscles and increasing flexibility. Most exercise programs include a little of all three. However, there's a lot of room for variety here. We will write more about exercise in all of its forms on this blog. Welcome!
While it can be fun to use the treadmill and elliptical trainer at your local gym to improve your cardiovascular fitness, it's always useful to have some equipment-free exercises in mind that you can try. You'll often see other gym members working on their cardio without the use of equipment. All you need is an open space on the floor. Many people use mountain climbers as a form of cardio. This simple exercise, in which you essentially get into a plank position and then move your legs as though you're running, improves cardio and builds muscle. Here are some mountain climber variations that you may want to try.
In standard mountain climbers, you're raising each knee vertically toward your chest. If you want to try a slight variation, consider cross-body mountain climbers. In this form of the exercise, you raise each knee and pull it across your torso. For example, when you raise your left knee, you lift it toward your right shoulder. Cross-body mountain climbers can not only be more challenging, which can make them a good fit for anyone who is looking to push themselves, but can also help you to gain more strength and mobility in your legs and hips.
While standard mountain climbers don't require any equipment, you may wish to consider using a piece of gear to increase the challenge. If your gym has ankle weights available, you can strap one to each of your ankles. Doing so makes it more difficult to kick your legs. Even a couple of pounds will make you aware of this extra resistance. Adding ankle weights can deepen the cardio benefits of this exercise, as well as strengthen your lower body faster.
People typically perform mountain climbers at a quick pace. It's optimal to move your legs as quickly as you're able, as this will help to get your heart rate up. While it might initially seem counterintuitive to slow this exercise down, you'll find that doing so will add a considerable challenge. Slowly and methodically raising each knee can be surprisingly difficult. This can especially be true if your legs are already tired from other workouts at the gym. Like performing standard planks, you may start to feel your core shake as you attempt to keep your torso straight. Give one or more of these mountain climber variations a try during your next workout at the gym.
To find out more, contact a company like Island Health and Fitness.