Parade – Not Into Running or Spin? Worry Not, Because the Simple Act of Taking a Walk Has Some Incredible Health Benefits
FORBES: The Best Home Workout Equipment, According to Experts. You can find the original article here.
by Steven John
With gyms and fitness studios closed across the country for the past few months — and the foreseeable future — many folks, myself included, have taken to running, biking or working out at home to expend some energy and stay in shape.
The trouble with home workouts, though, is that many households lack the exercise equipment suitable for specific types of training. You might have an old bench and barbell in the garage, for example, but that setup won’t help much for yoga or Pilates. And your treadmill, if you’re lucky enough to have the space for one, could definitely play a major role in keeping up the High Intensity Interval Training, but a treadmill alone isn’t enough for HIIT.
If you want to recreate the same type of workout you were doing at your favorite gym, in a boot camp class or at a speciality studio, you’ll need to invest in the workout equipment that will let you execute specific exercises properly. (You can also surely integrate some of the stuff you already have into your gym-at-home routine, so don’t neglect those old weights or that exercise bike that’s been a laundry rack for the past three years.)
To help you choose the best home workout equipment for your preferred type of workout, we spoke to several certified physical trainers, a celebrity fitness instructor, a pair of triathletes and other bonafide exercise experts. Here is some of the best home workout gear for keeping yourself in your best shape.
Best Workout Equipment For Total Body Training: TRX Straps
TRX PRO3 Suspension Trainer System
As long as you have a solid interior door, a hook screwed into a stud, or a sturdy tree branch, you can execute dozens of different exercises using TRX straps, every one of them tailored to suit your abilities in terms of strength and mobility.
Danielle Hirt, an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and RRCA Certified Running Coach with Formula Running Center says: “TRX straps offer a total body workout for any level. They’re a great foundational piece of equipment because all workouts can be modified. They instability from the top down and allow athletes to create different angles with their body to intensify each exercise. TRX straps are also great for recovery and mobility training, allowing you to use your own body weight to stretch your muscles more than you can on the floor alone.” Jess Glazer, former celebrity personal trainer and physical education instructor adds that she “is also a huge fan of the TRX home suspension system because it allows you to focus on all body parts and a variety of workouts from cardio and plyometrics to strength and stability.”
Best Workout Equipment For Strength Training: Adjustable Dumbbells
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
Glazer calls these adjustable dumbbells “great at home equipment because they don’t take up a lot of space and can be used for almost any type of strength workout.” Each dumbbell can be adjusted to weigh as little as five pounds or as much as 52.5 pounds, with myriad incremental options between the minimum and maximum. The 552s effectively eliminate the need for 15 sets of dumbbells, saving you space and actually saving money overall.
Best Workout Equipment For Open Water Swimming: Sleeveless Wetsuit
Orca RS1 Openwater Sleeveless Wetsuit
With many pools around the country closed and people practicing social distancing, open water swimming has seen major growth in 2020. Dan Cox, triathlete (and former contestant on The Bachelorette), describes the benefits of the total body workout open water swimming allows along with the mental and emotional benefits by saying: “The closest example I can give is for runners: running on a treadmill versus running outside, there is no comparison. I would highly recommend anyone who swims, is looking to get more comfortable in open water, is tired of doing laps or doesn’t have a pool available to find an ocean, bay or lake and jump in.” Andrew Starykowicz, a multi-time IronMan competition winner, seconds those notions, saying: “Swimming in open water sets the mind and body free. An Orca sleeveless wetsuit provides a little thermal boost and safety from marine life. That, accompanied with a little extra buoyancy and durable neoprene, make this suit my daily pick for the open water.”
Best Workout Equipment For Balance Training: Gliding Discs
Synergee Sliders Gliding Discs
Gliding discs like these can be used on carpeted or hard surfaces and can help with core training, strength training and balance training, which enhances core and muscle strength in and of itself. Danielle Hirt advises gliding disc users to “activate your core by incorporating these lightweight discs into your routine. By adding a balance challenge you can increase the intensity of your workout without adding impact.” Inexpensive and compact, gliding discs are worth consideration even for only occasional use, and they can be tucked away pretty much anywhere.
Best Workout Equipment For Yoga, Calisthenics and Aerobics: Yoga Mat
The Reversible Mat 5mm
With nothing more than your body and a yoga mat, you can execute hundreds of exercises safely and in comfort, from planks and pushups, crunches and lunges to, of course, yoga poses. Jess Glazer encourages exercise using your own body as the gear, saying: “I personally believe that you can have incredibly effective workouts at home with your own body weight. Being a competitive gymnast my entire life, I know the importance, power, and function our bodies have on their own.” These mats are durable and will be a welcome addition even after studios reopen.
Best Workout Equipment For Lower Body Training: Resistance Bands
Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Bands
Resistance bands let you challenge yourself as much (or as little) as you want. For an easier workout, go with less resistance. For a harder workout, switch to a heavier-duty band. And to take it up even more, double the bands. “Resistance bands, sometimes referred to as ‘booty bands,’ are great for targeting the muscles in the glutes and hips that are underdeveloped from sitting at a desk all day,” says Danielle Hirt, adding that “they can also be used to strengthen the upper body when anchored to another point of contact such as a door or under your foot.”
Best Workout Equipment For Endurance Training: Stationary Bike
Peloton Exercise Bike
You can get much lower priced bikes than the Peloton, but you can’t get the same customized motivational experience as you will when you subscribe to instructor-led remote training sessions via the bike’s huge screen. Danielle Hirt recommends the Peloton because it makes “a great addition to change up your cardio exercise. Cycling offers a low impact option while still strengthening your heart, lungs and muscles.” With this bike, a coach “can lead you through a recovery ride, Tabatastyle HIIT workout or hill ride; you will never get bored.”
Best Workout Equipment For Core Training: Sandbags
PELLOR Fitness Sandbag
“One piece of equipment that I like that not a lot of people use are sandbags,” says R.J. Cincotta, director of fitness with Orange Theory Fitness Long Island and a 15-year veteran of the professional training and fitness world. “They can be filled with multiple bags of sand so you customize your weight, and they can be used to accentuate so many moves. You can do squats, you can do lots of core work, you can even lay on a bench and do a bench press with a sandbag.”
POPSUGAR: Got 30 Minutes? This Track Workout Will Work Your Whole Body. You can find the original article here.
Not many of us likely count the local track as our workout locale of choice. However, it may be time to lace up the trainers like the UA HOVR™ Apex Training Shoes ($140) and reconsider the good old track. Not only is it a great spot to enjoy some exercise outside, but it’s also a totally free option beyond the gym or investing in a treadmill to practice running or walking. What’s more, you can even utilize the warm up area or the park surrounding the lanes to sneak in some strength moves and stretches for a total-body workout.
For those looking for a fun routine to kick-start their own track adventure, I spoke to Carol Housaman, an ACE-certified trainer and coach at Formula Running Center. She reminded me that not all who visit the track need to be track stars. With a standard track featuring eight lanes, there are plenty of lanes to go around. “Just like driving on the highway, the inner track lane is the fast lane and is used for runners who are performing speed workouts,” she explained. “The outer lanes are for easier paced running and walking.”
Warm up and stretching
Begin with an easy jog/walk at a conversational pace for two laps around the track. After the warmup, add in the following dynamic stretches for 30-60 seconds each.
- Walking knee hugs: Hug your knee into your chest, alternating legs.
- Walking good mornings: Extend your left leg and flex your left foot while hinging from your hips and reaching toward your food. Alternate legs.
- Walking straight leg kicks: Stand up tall, with your arms above your head. Raise the right leg and tap it with your left arm, while taking a step forward. Alternate sides.
- Prisoner walks: Place arms behind your head while taking walking lunges forward, bringing your knee to elbow.
- Stationary lateral leg swings: Stand still and hold onto a fence for support. With straight legs, swing one leg forward across the body while maintaining a strong core. Alternate sides.
- Inchworm caterpillar walks: Assume a plank position. Shuffle your legs up toward your hands until they almost meet. Without standing up, move your hands forward to assume a plank position again to mimic an inchworm.
Break the track into two parts, the straightaways and the curves. Remember one lap measures 400 meters.
- Complete 2 X 100 meter run/walk. Run at a hard effort on the straightaways and walk around the curves for your recovery. Complete this alternating two times for a total of one lap.
After the run/walk, complete the following strength moves:
- 15 push-ups
- 30-second forearm plank hold
- 30 squats
- 50 walking lunges (25 per leg)
Recover for two minutes and repeat the set until all rounds are completed. Complete three to four rounds — or one to two rounds if you’re a beginner.
- Take one lap of an easy walk or jog around the track
- Finish up with your choice of static stretches
POPSUGAR: Yep, Cross-Training Is Actually a Crucial Part of Your Marathon-Training Plan. You can find the original article here.
The first time I signed up to run a marathon, I was understandably nervous beyond belief. But like any good first-timer, I did my homework. I researched the course, read article upon article about what to expect, made sure to find my perfect running sneakers — like the Under Armour HOVR™ Sonic 3 W8LS Running Shoes ($120) — and printed out a marathon training plan to hang on my fridge.
I’ll never forget that Excel sheet printed out with exactly what distance to run on what day and when to cross-train. I’ll also never forget the panic that ran through me. I have to do other workouts other than just run, I thought to myself. I thought running miles upon miles was chore enough, but to add in other forms of exercise, too, now that’s a lot.
As I’d come to learn after that first training season, cross-training is as essential as my newbie marathon Excel sheet. According to Jim Economos, an ACE-certified personal trainer, triathlete, and coach at Formula Running Center, cross-training — an exercise routine that combines different types of training outside of your sport of choice — helps eliminate muscle imbalances and improves strength and cardiovascular endurance.
For runners particularly, he noted cross-training can strengthen those non-running muscles and give running muscles a break from the impact of running.
“It also can continue to build upon the same cardiovascular benefits of running,” he added. “Marathoners especially can benefit from cross-training. As the mileage load builds, it’s easy to burn out — a mix of training can give the runner a mental and physical break.”
Although I can attest to the need to cross-train for the sheer mental break from a calendar of runs, I can also attest to the important part cross-training plays in injury prevention.
“Muscle imbalances and overtraining are the main cause of injuries in runners,” Economos said. “By working the weaker muscles, you can become a stronger and more efficient runner. You will also give the weight-bearing joints, muscles, and tendons a break from the repetitive stress of running.”
There were times in my training that I found myself feeling stiff and sore from my mileage, so I opted for a spin class or pilates class with a friend to break things up and give my running muscles a break. As I incorporated spin class into my program, I noticed I was becoming a stronger runner.
As Economos explained, cycling is actually a great option for runners, as it continues to improve the cardiovascular system and works the muscle groups in opposition to those used most in running.Another great option for cross-training is swimming, because it’s a non-weight-bearing sport that supports upper-body strength, he said.
Of course, as you take your preferred method of cross-training into consideration, it’s important to draw the distinction between a non-running-sport day and a rest day. One mistake I’ve made in the past was skipping my scheduled rest days because I was cross-training for a few days instead of running and assumed I needed to keep moving. But remember: a non-running workout is still a workout!
As Economos explained to me, a true rest day is just that — rest. Some runners, especially competitive ones, may opt for easier cross-training activities such as walking or yoga before or after a strenuous run workout instead of staying sedentary, said Economos. But for all of us recreational runners, a day off should be a true day off to rest and recover physically and mentally.