With the holidays here, it can be difficult to fit both strength and cardiovascular exercise into a workout regimen.
Andy Fry, a
fitness expert in Indiana University Bloomington's School of Health,
Physical Education and Recreation, has a suggestion: Try circuit
training is a type of interval workout that combines endurance and
aerobic exercises to create a full-body workout that usually lasts 30
training usually consists of eight to 10 exercises, with minimal rest
in-between," said Fry. "The idea is to keep your heart-rate elevated
the entire time, fatiguing one muscle before moving on to the
training session could consist of short intervals on a stationary bike
or treadmill with strength exercises such as lunges or bicep curls
in-between. One could also create eight to 10 different "stations" with
exercises such as pushups, jumping jacks or free weights. Spend one to
two minutes at each station, with minimal breaks in-between. Complete
the circuit two or three times.
Circuit training is a time saver.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing moderately
intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week and eight to 10
strength-training exercises twice a week. "When you combine strength
and cardio into one circuit training workout, you get two workouts for
the price of one," said Fry.
Anyone can circuit train.
"The great thing about circuit training is that anyone can do it," said
Fry. "Circuit training is easy to modify, so it's good for everyone,
even an elite athlete." Fry suggests varying weight and intensity so
that you stay challenged.
Your body (and mind) is constantly being challenged.
Since circuit training involves a variety of exercises, all working
different muscle groups, the body is less inclined to adapt -- making
workouts more effective. It also keeps workouts exciting. "Since you
are always moving to the next exercise, you are less likely to get
bored," said Fry. "It's often difficult for someone to continue the
same activity for 30-40 minutes."
You don't need a gym.
If you can't make it to the gym, Fry suggests using household items to
do circuit training at home. "You could use milk jugs as weights," said
Fry. "Each jug, filled with water, weighs eight pounds."
For more information on Indiana University Health & Wellness, visit www.indiana.edu.