When you fall into a workout routine, it’s easy to gravitate toward the path of least resistance every time you hit the gym. While your old, familiar favorite might be appealing, there are many benefits to getting out of your comfort zone and trying new exercises – especially when it comes to your cardio.
By adding variety to your workouts, you will engage different muscle groups and your physical conditioning will be better rounded.
Getting a full-body workout is important because disproportionately strengthening certain muscle groups while neglecting others may leave you more prone to injury.
There are unique benefits to each type of machine – so give them all a try and decide which complements the other workouts you like to do best.
Don’t let the smooth, fluid motion of the elliptical fool you into thinking you’re not getting a good workout. Research shows that an elliptical can burn just as many calories as a treadmill. It is a great piece of equipment for an intermediate-to-high-intensity cardio workout that doesn’t put significant stress on your joints.
If you don’t feel like dealing with settings mid-workout, use pre-programmed routines for a no-stress sweat session. Newer machines often have screens built into the console so you can enjoy your favorite television show, listen to music or browse the Internet while you get a workout in.
Keep your body guessing: Use a forward stride for five minutes, and then reverse your stride for the next five minutes. Keep alternating directions for the duration of your workout to vary which muscles are being used the most. And if you want to know more about whether to use the handlebars or not, check out this.
A huge benefit to treadmills is that the intensity can be adjusted to suit fitness newbies all the way up to elite athletes. You can walk, jog or run, and if you want high intensity, you’ll be hard pressed to find an exercise more strenuous than sprinting. Treadmills are also great for maintaining a steady pace at a moderate intensity level to build endurance.
Many treadmills use technology to absorb up some of the impact when your foot hits the deck compared to road running, which means that treadmill training is easier on your joints.
Ramp up the excitement: Start walking or jogging at a comfortable pace. Every few minutes, increase the speed and incline slightly. Keep ramping it up until you’re maxed out, and then drop the incline and resistance to recover for two minutes and try it again. And want to know more about how a treadmill run is different from running outdoors? Read this.
You didn’t join a gym to work out in isolation, did you? Cycling can be the perfect gateway for you to benefit from the motivating force of a group. 24 Hour Fitness offers two types of cycling classes: Cycle and Les Mills RPM™.
Cycle class brings the outdoor biking experience indoors as motivating instructors guide you through simulated terrains with hill climbs, flat roads, anaerobic intervals, and more. RPM is a high-energy class that incorporates upbeat music to power you through your ride.
If it’s your first class, show up a few minutes early so the instructor can help you set up your bike. Commit to going to a class several times, as it can take a couple of sessions before you feel comfortable with the class structure and new equipment.
Challenge yourself: If you’re not in a class, try creating your own motivational competition. Keep track of your workouts and try to beat your best records. For example, see how fast you can bike one mile, or see how far you can go in half an hour. You can try to improve your performance each time you hit the gym.
When exploring new cardio machines, remember to take a moment and input your age and weight on the machine’s console, if available, before each exercise session. This will allow the equipment to more accurately estimate the number of calories you burn.
If your new exercise feels unpleasant at first (as in challenging, not painful!), that’s not a bad sign. You’re probably working muscles that need the extra attention. Even if you don’t instantly love your new workout, stick with it and give the equipment a chance to impress you – you never know, you could find a new favorite.
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