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There’s no better cure for winter doldrums than a great workout.
The weather is turning cold, and you’ve planted yourself on the couch. A couch potato, just like a spud in the soil, increases in girth over time. By spring, you may not be able to get into your warm-weather clothes.
The solution is winter exercise. And what better way to exercise than in the comfort of your own home. With plenty of excellent fitness equipment available, you can achieve great workouts without leaving the house and be ready for bathing-suit season when warm weather returns.
Most trainers and fitness experts agree that a good exercise program should include both aerobic exercise – sometimes called cardio – and resistance training.
The Aerobic Workout
A good indoor aerobic workout will keep you moving for at least 30 minutes on a treadmill, elliptical trainer or stationery bike. If you’re working hard enough, your respiration and heart rate should increase and you’ll perspire. But working too hard can be dangerous. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising, and your heart rate shouldn’t rise above the level recommended for your age.
Dunham’s offers numerous products that can help you achieve a great workout. Among these is the ProForm® 790T treadmill. Jeff Hedin of Icon Health & Fitness says, “Whether you want to lose weight, train for a marathon, or improve your overall fitness, a treadmill can help you achieve those goals.”
Elliptical trainers can provide a great workout as well. Dunham’s carries the ProForm® 7.0 RE. The machine offers 14 different workout applications and includes a heart-rate monitor.
Heart rate is important. The chart on page 28 shows the maximum heart rate for adults 20 through 85. When you first start exercising, try to maintain a heart rate that is 50 percent of maximum. After a month of workouts, try for 75 percent . As you become trim and fit, you’ll probably be able to work your way up to 85 percent of the maximum rate.
Exercise bikes are another great way to get that heart rate up. Dunham’s offers the ProForm® 320 SPX. With a 44-lb. flywheel and quick-stop braking, it makes workouts a breeze. Also available is the ProForm® Hybrid Trainer, combining a bike and elliptical trainer in one, it’s great for those who like a change of pace.
Resistance Training
Resistance training or weight training is the other side of the exercise equation. Putting muscles to work can increase your body’s percentage of lean mass, and additional lean mass means more calories burned. But the very mention of mass leads some couch potatoes to an excuse for doing nothing. “I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder,” they say.
Don’t worry. That result is not likely. While a serous and consistent weight-training program will improve muscle definition and make you look and feel better, it won’t bulk you up significantly. Building extremely large muscles requires extensive weight training and special diet. Fear not, the body-builder look.
Curt Reynolds, CAP Barbell vice president, agrees. “Weight training is not the same as body building,” he says. “Weight training is about improving muscle strength and muscle tone. For men, who have naturally higher levels of testosterone, weight training can mean an increase in muscle size. On the other hand, women, with lower testosterone levels, tend to increase tone without significantly increasing muscle size.”
Weight lifting with barbells and dumbbells is the time-tested way to increase lean mass. Most experts recommend you work with a professional trainer until you develop a routine and good habits. But having equipment at home so you can squeeze in a workout whenever it’s convenient will greatly increase your chances of success.
Dunham’s stocks a line of CAP Barbell products. Among them are CAP cast-iron dumbbells, available in 5-pound increments from 3 lbs. to 50 lbs. Another popular choice is the CAP 40-lb. dumbbell weight set. This plate-and-bar set allows you to adjust the weight of the dumbbells by adding or subtracting plates. It comes in a plastic case for easy storage. For those who want to learn to train with barbells, there’s the inexpensive CAP 100-lb. Vinyl Weight Set.
The Best of Both Worlds
Plyometric exercise falls somewhere in between aerobic and resistance training workouts. There are thousands of plyometric variations but generally they are exercise routines that mimic motions used in sports. They can include leg hops, jumping up and down from and to boxes and, for upper body, medicine ball workouts. A good way to get started is with a Fuel Plyometrics Box. It’s available at Dunham’s.
Battle rope workouts are another great way to condition muscles while maintaining the continuous movement needed for aerobic fitness. These routines call for a variety of strenuous movements using a heavy rope that must be manipulated in patterns that work different muscles. It’s a good workout, and it’s fun. You’ll find the Fuel 40-Foot Battle Rope at Dunham’s.
Don’t overlook the classic exercises. Pushups and sit-ups can yield great results. And Dunham’s can provide a CAP exercise mat that will make getting down and getting it done all the more comfortable.
NOTE: Always consult your doctor, physician or a qualified health care professional before beginning any exercise program.
-Fitness Fanatic
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