Crossroads Fitness Blog

Put your heart into fitness with cardio

April 18, 2017

 It’s no secret: To stay healthy, we must get our bodies moving every day. Movement strengthens our muscles, including our heart. Did you know the heart is the only muscle that never stops working?   

Cardiovascular exercise keeps the heart strong. Learning what cardio exercise is and why it’s important is the first step. From there, you can explore ways of getting cardio exercise in the gym and some tips on making your experience the most enjoyable and beneficial it can be.

Simply put, cardio is exercise that raises your heart rate. When you think of going for a run or walking up and down stairs, you’re performing cardio exercise. The stronger your cardiovascular system becomes, the more capillaries you have delivering oxygen to the cells in your muscles, where those cells can then burn more fat.  

A strong cardiovascular system means more than just weight loss. Cardio exercises strengthen the heart and lungs, increase bone density, reduce stress, enhance sleep and reduce the risk of heart disease. The list goes on. Most importantly, cardio exercises will enable your body to function more efficiently in your daily life.

Cardio exercise should be personalized to fit you. Begin by finding your target heart rate. This will give you a starting point to Quick read more or view full article make sure your workout is not only beneficial, but also safe.
To calculate your maximum heart rate, use the following formula:  220 minus your age equals your maximum heart rate. To calculate your target heart rate multiply your maximum heart rate by 55 percent and 85 percent. That gives you the range you’ll find the most beneficial for your workout.   

A heart rate monitor offers an important tool to help you track your exact heart rate throughout your workout. It can record the amount of time you exercise in your zone and how many calories you burn. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, buy one.

Cardio exercise can be done inside and outside. It’s a personal preference and both offer advantages. Cardio equipment in a health club is designed specifically for exercise. Each machine is designed to imitate your body’s natural movements. Understanding what each machine does will help you decide which one works best for your body and your goals. Ideally, it will be a combination of a few of them.  

Start with the treadmill. It simulates walking or running.  This machine has both incline and speed adjustments. By increasing the incline of the bed of the treadmill, you’ll feel as though you’re walking uphill. This will also increase your heart rate because it’s more difficult. Try to use the handle for balance only, not to support yourself. When you use the treadmill without holding on, you’re engaging your core muscles to stay balanced.

An elliptical machine is a non-impact form of exercise. This cardio machine is a good alternative for people who have joint or back issues. This machine can provide upper and lower body strengthening and conditioning. You can set the resistance for a harder workout as well as the cross ramp for an increased incline. 

The recumbent bike is a beneficial cardio machine. It works the gluteal muscles. This bike allows you to change the level of resistance. Other cardio machines include the Stairmaster that simulates climbing stairs, the AMT machine that can vary from stepping to running with stride length and the rowing machine that offers a great cardio intensity workout.

Cardio exercise is one of the four cornerstones of exercise, and one of the most important.  There are various ways to increase your heart rate. Choose one that best suits your body and fitness goals. By choosing exercises you enjoy, you’ll be more apt to consistently do them. The benefits of cardio exercise far exceed just weight loss.

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Posted by Paula Reece
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Zumba events good for charity, good for you

October 21, 2014

You don’t have to look very hard to see that pink is in the air.  Walk into any store and you’ll find everything from pink cupcakes to pink-colored hair spray cans. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Zumba Party in Pink charity events are just one of those amazing events in our community that not only raise money, but also offers a fun way to exercise.

Party in Pink Zumbathons have partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure. This event started in 2010 and has raised more than $3 million for groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 30 countries.   “Regular exercise is associated with reduced breast cancer risk, so we’ve been delighted to benefit from Zumba Fitness’ popular and fun Party in Pink campaign,” said Chandini Porteus, chief mission officer for Susan G. Komen. So, if you think that attending these events doesn’t really matter — think again.

Why Zumba? There are more benefits than just raising money. Zumba is a fitness program that combines Latin-inspired music with dance moves. Zumba routines incorporate moderate aerobic activity, interval training and resistance training all in one class.  Another plus with Zumba is that it’s fun, so you’re more likely to do it regularly.  Because of the aerobic activity, you’re strengthening your heart and burning calories. We all love that.  

You don’t have to be a trained dancer to reap the benefits.  Men, women and children of all ages and levels Quick read more or view full article of experience can join in. There are a variety of Zumba class formats.  For example, Zumba Gold is a lower-intensity class aimed towards the older, active adult, emphasizing range of motion and balance. Zumba Kids is a class for children that introduces a healthy lifestyle, builds self-esteem and teaches coordination, all while having a great time!

There are other benefits of Zumba that might not be as transparent. Zumba programs have impacted millions of people’s lives in positive ways. Participating in these classes helps build self-confidence. It’s heartwarming the Zumba builds relationships among the participants and their instructors. Crossroads Fitness has been hosting Party in Pink Zumbathons since the beginning.  This month was the fifth year in a row, and the event keeps gaining momentum.  

As with many forms of cancer, learning the preventative measurements before it strikes can have life-saving results. Exercise, nutrition and a positive attitude are all ways to be healthy.  Learning about your body and how it moves and feels is one way to keep an eye on your health.  When things don’t seem right, don’t hesitate to check it out. No one knows your body better than you do. Routine testing, such as mammograms, can help to detect problems early.  

There are many charity events that help to raise money and awareness for cancer and other diseases.  It makes your heart feel good to know you can join in and be part of the solution.   Attending one of these events brings participants to shed a few tears, be silly and laugh as well as burn calories.

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Posted by Paula Reece
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Kettlebells: Old device gains new following

September 23, 2014

Kettlebells might seem like a new fitness trend, but the concept is actually centuries old. 

This funny shaped weight resembles a cannonball with a handle and is often made of cast iron or steel. Kettlebells originated in Russia in the 1700s — although it wasn’t originally used for exercise, but rather for weighing crops. 

Kettlebells soon became part of physical training and conditioning programs throughout Russia and Europe, eventually making their way to the United States. Today, kettlebell training is used in gyms and fitness studios across the county.

To get a picture of what a kettlebell looks like, imagine a small bowling ball with a suitcase handle. This weight comes in a variety of sizes — from 

8 pounds to 97 pounds. They’re versatile, and most standard exercises can be performed with a kettlebell.  

Kettlebells offer advantages over barbells or dumbbells. This type of training is movement based, which means you’re using multiple muscle groups at the same time. This type of full-body conditioning teaches the body to work as one strong unit.  Another benefit of adding kettlebell training to your workout is that it saves time because you’re using multiple muscle groups at one time.

Kettlebells are good not only for only strength training, but also incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic — that is, with oxygen — is the same as a cardiovascular workout, like walking, swimming or bicycling. Anaerobic exercise — without oxygen — is a workout that is a quick, high-intensity exercise, Quick read more or view full article similar to a sprint. 

With the burst of energy needed to perform the exercises with numerous repetitions, it’s guaranteed to raise your heart rate. With increased heart rate and higher repetitions, you can add fat loss to the list of benefits. 

Allen Russell, a trainer at Crossroads Fitness in Grand Junction, talks about using kettlebells. “When used properly, kettlebells activate the kinetic chain — that is, the natural sequence in which muscles are designed to fire — very effectively. In addition to the strength benefits, research has shown that the physiological effects upon the body following the kettlebell swing make it an excellent exercise for anyone to perform.”  

In addition to many athletes, kettlebells appeal to people of all fitness levels and genders. Said Russell: “I find that kettlebells are easily adaptable across most ability levels, depending upon the exercise, to meet the specific individual needs of the majority of my clients.”   

There are many movements performed with kettlebells.  The most common is the swing. Other movements include clean, jerk, snatch and row. Because kettlebell training uses high repetitions, you should start slowly to build muscle strength and endurance.  If done improperly, the movements used in kettlebell exercise can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems. Technique is very important in kettlebell training and should be taught by a skilled trainer to insure proper form. In-person instruction helps to maximize the benefits while ensuring a safe workout.

This “not so new” concept of kettlebell training has become the fitness rage. This training consists of advantageous benefits that include combining cardiovascular and strength training, increased balance and flexibility and weight loss. 

Kettlebell training is an effective and fun method of training to add to your workout.

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Cardio exercise: Make it fun to keep moving

July 29, 2014
The key to cardiovascular exercise is keeping the heart pumping. Many times we only think of cardio as stepping on a treadmill or going for a run. In fact, cardiovascular exercise is any movement that gets your heart pumping and raises your heart rate. 

Our bodies were made to move. That’s why the list of benefits of cardiovascular exercise is so extensive. The most popular benefit is weight loss — which is important not only for good health, but also to look good. Although appearance is important, cardio exercise also increases blood flow to your muscles, strengthens the heart and lungs, reduces stress and gives you more energy.

Since cardiovascular exercise is so important to a healthy lifestyle, you need to do it everyday. Doing the same boring exercise everyday can make it difficult to stay motivated, though, leaving you with an excuse to skip it. Here are some different exercises to add to your cardio routine to boost your motivation.

Something as simple as adding arm movements or hand weights to a basic walk will help raise your heart rate and increase coordination and muscle tone. Instead of a walk on flat ground, try an exercise machine, an incline or take a flight of stairs. The incline adds intensity and focus to an otherwise easy movement.

Jumping rope is another way to improve cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. This heart-oriented activity isn’t just for children. Make sure to choose a rope that’s the right length for Quick read more or view full article you. Because jump ropes are portable, you can take them anywhere. That’s another excuse extinguished.

Climbing a mountain is no easy feat, but what if you did it on the ground? This exercise is called a mountain climber. Here’s how it works: Begin in a pushup position. Bring the left knee in towards the chest, touching it down on the floor. Jump up and switch your feet in the air, bringing the right foot in and the left foot back. Continue alternating the feet as fast as you can safely for 30 to 60 seconds. This may also be done putting your hands on a weight bench rather than the floor as an easier modification.

High-intensity exercises are the craze these days and can add yet another option for cardio exercise. A burpee is one of those ultimate conditioning exercises.  It combines a squat, push up and jump all in one exercise. This whole body exercise can be performed by anyone at any fitness level. A push-up burpee is performed by beginning with a squat with hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank and perform a push-up. Move your feet back under you and jump into the air. There are many variations to the burpee.
Such cardio machines as treadmills, ellipticals and bikes have kept up with technology. These “techie” features offer televisions, movies, music, Internet and games to entertain you as well as such workout information as calories, distance, time and heart rate.

Change the way you think about exercise. Instead of struggling with being active, try something new that challenges you. By adding additional movements to a simple exercise, you not only increase the workout benefits for your heart, but also remain motivated. Above all, make exercise fun and something you look forward to. And keep moving! Read Less
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Cardio benefits go beyond weight loss

February 19, 2014
 To keep healthy, we must get our bodies moving every day.  This movement strengthens our muscles, including our heart. Did you know the heart muscle is the only muscle that never stops working?  

Cardio exercise keeps the heart strong.  Learning what cardio exercise is and why it’s important is the first step. From there, you can explore ways of getting cardio exercise in the gym and some tips on making your experience more enjoyable and beneficial.
Simply put, cardio exercise is exercise that raises your heart rate. When you think of going for a run or walking up and down stairs, you’re performing “cardio” or a cardiovascular exercise. The stronger your cardiovascular system becomes, the more capillaries you have delivering oxygen to the cells in your muscles, where these cells can then burn more fat. 

A strong cardiovascular system means more than just weight loss. Cardio exercises strengthen the heart and lungs, increase bone density, reduce stress, improve sleep, reduce the risks of heart disease ... and the list goes on. Most importantly, cardio exercises will make your body more efficient in your day to day living. 

Cardio exercise should be personalized to fit you. Begin by determining your target heart rate. This will give you a starting point to make sure your workout is not only beneficial, but also safe. To find your maximum heart rate, use the following formula:  220 – your age = your maximum Quick read more or view full article heart rate.  To find your target heart rate, multiply you maximum heart rate by 55 percent and
85 percent. It is that range where you will find the most benefit to your workout.  

A heart rate monitor will help you track your heart rate throughout your workout. A monitor can record the amount of time you exercised in your zone and how many calories you burned. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, buy one.
Cardio exercise can be done inside and outside. It is a personal preference and both have advantages. Cardio equipment in a health club is designed specifically for exercise. Each machine is designed to imitate your body’s natural movements.  By understanding what each machine does, you can decide which one works best for your body and your goals. Ideally, you should use a combination of machines.

Start with the treadmill, which simulates walking or running.  This machine has both incline and speed adjustments. By increasing the incline of the bed of the treadmill, you’ll feel as though you’re walking uphill. This also will increase your heart rate because it’s more strenuous. Try to use the handle for balance only, not to support yourself.  When you use the treadmill without holding on, you’re engaging your core muscles to stay balanced.

An elliptical machine offers a non-impact form of exercise.  This cardio machine is a good alternative for people who have joint or back issues. This machine can provide upper and lower body strengthening and conditioning. You can set the resistance for a harder workout as well as the crossramp for an increased incline.

The recumbent bike is a beneficial cardio machine and works the gluteal muscles. This bike allows you to change the level of resistance. Other cardio machines include the Stairmaster that simulates climbing stairs, the AMT machine that can vary from stepping to running with stride length and the rowing machine that offers a great cardio intensity workout.

Cardio exercise constitutes one of the most important four cornerstones of exercise.  There are various ways to increase your heart rate.  Choose one that best suits your body and fitness goals. By choosing exercises you enjoy, you’ be more apt to consistently exercise. The benefits of cardio exercise far exceed just weight loss. Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>
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