It’s that time of year again to start our New Year’s resolutions. If your resolution is improving your fitness you can do so at home or at the gym. The treadmill, elliptical, recumbent bike, strength training, and aquatic exercise are all good for improving cardiovascular health, promoting healthy joints and muscles, weight loss, and improving endurance. Below are the benefits of each type:
- Treadmill: Provides a variety of workout options by changing velocity from walking to running as well as adding inclines to simulate hill climbing. The disadvantage of the treadmill is possible injury due to impact on your joints.
- Elliptical: The elliptical is less stressful on your joints then the treadmill due to decreased weight bearing and impact. You can increase the intensity of your workout by increasing the resistance, incline (cross ramp), and using the movable handles. Increasing the incline also targets your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
- Bike: Provides low impact cardiovascular workout. You can burn more calories by changing resistance and varying your speed.
- Strength training: Utilizing free weights or weight machines to target specific muscles and increase strength. Complete strength training 2-3x/week allowing for a day of rest in between. It is also a good idea to alternate between upper body and lower body workouts.
- Aquatic exercise: A great low impact exercise for people of all ages due to the buoyancy of the water. The higher the water hits your body the less weight bearing you are experiencing and the easier it is to move. Hydrostatic pressure decreases swelling in your legs. This is a great environment to work on improving your balance due to increased proprioceptive awareness from the water. To exercise you can swim, walk in the pool, complete strengthening and stretching exercises, or attend aerobic aquatic exercise classes.
A physical therapist can help develop an exercise program that is right for you. Remember to start slowly with any new workout to build up your tolerance. Below are some helpful resources to review.
Stacey Thompson, PTA