Health & Fitness--what's New In Workouts? 01/28/99
Make a habit of variety.
Thursday, January 28, 1999
What''s new in working out? Personal preference is in, and that one-exercise-fits-all mentality is out. Today, exercisers have a world of options available when it comes to getting fit. Personal trainers, fitness centers, walking, in-line skating--with all these choices, livening up old workouts or establishing a new fitness routine is easy.
Deciding what type of exercise to do depends primarily on the exerciser. "If you don''t like it, don''t do it," says Corey Hooten, a personal trainer at Garden Health and Fitness with a degree in exercise science.
"There are 100 different ways to get fit," says Mark Thomas, manager of Salinas Athletic Club and a personal trainer. Though "a lot of it is trial and error," he says, it''s best to start with what is appealing and branch out. That way, several activities can be alternated for a better overall workout.
A great place to get a range of exercises is a fitness center. For people who have been out of the gym environment (or who have never ventured near one), a visit might hold some pleasant surprises. Today there is a stronger emphasis on group classes. Many gyms feature a wide array of aerobics classes, and some offer indoor cycling (or Spinning) classes, group treadmill and group weight-training classes.
One smart idea for those new to the gym is a short-term membership, suggests Thomas. It''s a good way to become acquainted with the equipment and classes, as well as to give a club a trial run before investing in a more expensive membership.
But, joining a gym isn''t the only way to get fit. Plenty of workout options exist at home. "The simplest thing is walking, running or jogging," says Thomas, who admits he gets some of his best workouts when he exercises at home. Hiking and outdoor cycling, he says, are great activities as well, and there are the old stand-bys: stomach crunches, leg lunges and pull-ups.
Hooten additionally suggests using hand-held weights, investing in an instructional fitness video, and reading fitness-oriented magazines.
Generally, a good weekly workout schedule consists of three to five sessions of cardiovascular work, from 20 to 60 minutes a workout, coupled with approximately two sessions of strength training. The length and intensity of the workout depends on personal goals. Basically, says Hooten, "You want to feel that you have physically exerted yourself, yet it should be energizing."
Don''t be afraid to change routines. Committed exercisers are often guilty of sticking with stale workouts. Variety in their routine could bring the results they''re seeking and renew their interest in working out.
"At the point that it seems like the workout isn''t giving results, that''s the perfect time to make a change in your program," Hooten advises.
One approach that both new and practiced exercisers can take is to hire a personal trainer. A trainer can provide the necessary instruction and motivation many people need to get their routines started, or help exercisers meet personal goals. But there''s no clear consensus on whether personal trainers are worth the money.
Personal trainers are a good investment, says Hooten, as long as you research and find a trainer who is educated, experienced and whose interests match your own.
While Thomas doesn''t believe personal trainers are worth the expense for the average person, he does stress the importance of orientation programs for new gym members. With an orientation, a trainer can help establish a basic routine, start a training log, and provide instructional literature.
As many people know, sticking with a workout program can be the biggest challenge of all. The key to sustaining a fitness regimen is surrounding yourself with people who share your fitness goals, says Don Curry, co-owner of the Carmel Fitness Center and a personal trainer.
Plus, exercising should be a positive experience. "Try to keep the program as fun as possible," says Thomas, adding that enjoyable programs done in moderation are easier to stick with. cw