The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups”. Because I am a Physical Education major, I learned this fact along with many others through the CDC website. I used to think this meant strictly running and weight lifting at the gym. But I have learned, and continue to learn, the abundant ways you can get your heart rate up (preventing cardio-respiratory diseases) and keep your muscles from withering away.
“If the bum is numb, the brain is the same.”
Ways to get in the daily cardio:
Zumba is an aerobic dance workout that is made up of Latin American moves and usually involves Latin American music. I used to do about 45 minutes of Zumba every Wednesday while at Winona State. This will get your heart rate up whether you’re into it or whether you’re self-conscious about your ability to fiercely sway your hips. My instructor, Ellery, always says, “When in doubt, tap it out!” Tap your feet or twerk in the back: exercise! You also might get in some muscle-strengthening when doing endless squats to the beat of the music. You don’t need a membership to a gym to do Zumba; YouTube has follow-along videos!
Now that summer is here, you really have no excuse as to why you won’t swim instead of run for the day. Okay, that’s just me. I have yet to swim laps at a lake, but I know this sport will hands-down get the heart pumpin’. Swimming is beneficial because we actually need to practice anaeorbic exercise almost as much as aerobic exercise. Incorporating both exercises is beneficial to improving performance/ increasing physical fitness.
3. Jump rope.
Jumping rope and running are both great cardio-respiratory options. Jumping rope has the ability to get your heart rate higher than running depending on your speed of both. Just a week or so ago, the children at my work started getting out the jump ropes (to actually jump rope instead of tie knots or play tug-of-war). I was the designated roper, along with another girl, while there was a line of children ready as jumpers. I even learned the famous chant: “Strawberry shortcake, blueberry pie. ___________’s got a boyfriend, me-oh-my. A-B-C…Z”. After my arms were getting sore, I decided I wanted to jump. I couldn’t get past H! This activity left me catching my breath while the next two in line took their turns. Double-dutch tournament, here I come.
Ways to build your muscles:
- Slide into the park.
My dad and I are “training” for a Tough Mudder. We have close to zero equipment or resources…except for the local parks. We ran to a local school playground and climbed the rock wall (Of course, you could just go to Vertical Endeavors, but your inner child might get upset), ran stairs, balanced on the beam, attempted pull ups, crossed the monkey bars, free-styled on the parallel bars, and of course went down the slide. You could even climb the fireman pole or try those sideways stunts.
Make a course out of it and run through five times and you’re sure to keep your arms and legs strong. As a bonus, many of these events work the core.
Pilates is a way to maintain tone or to slightly build muscles. I would do this one once or twice a week at Winona for an easier 45-min workout. The moves are yoga-inspired, giving you flexibility and mindfulness while still toning the body. Pilates incorporates movements that benefit mainly the core, but also arms and legs. I say this is an easier workout for me because it’s pushing through the burn slowly, not racing to get in your last rep. It’s a different kind of challenge, which I strongly appreciate and recommend. Once again, you can find many Pilates, Yoga, and Barre videos to follow along to on YouTube.
A healthy you is a happy you. Physical activity has so many more benefits than just getting the body in shape. Physical activity exercises the brain just as much as the heart, lungs, and muscles. An article about this will defs be a future goal of mine! Get outside and get moving!