NEW YEAR, NEW YOU: 5 tips on enhancing your cardio routine
Whether it is exercising on a treadmill, grinding the elliptical, riding a bicycle or jogging in the park, the five following tips can make exercising safer, more fun and worth your while.
Interesting research recently done at McGill University showed that running in spurts of five minutes followed by another five minutes of walking is more effective than endurance jogging for the same total amount of time. By comparison, the spurt runners maintained a higher 24-hour post-exercise metabolic rate (the amount of calories burnt during rest) than the endurance joggers. Note that spurt running is defined as running at 80 per cent of maximum heart rate. Consult a specialist if cardiac safety is a concern.
Time your eating
Try not to exercise after a meal and always drink a glass of water before going for a run. Thirty minutes prior to your routine, a banana, an apple or a piece of pastry can give you the extra sugar to stay energized, motivated and warm.
Stretch after exercise
Stretching before exercising in the cold can effectively weaken and lengthen the muscles being stretched. In other words, one becomes more susceptible to muscle tear injuries. The alternative to warming up is by beginning exercise slow and progress into your desired speed when the body feels slightly warmer with mild perspiration. At the end of the run, cool down and then stretch.
By constantly reminding yourself to breathe deep and slow, it will improve oxygen saturation in your muscle cells, and in turn increase your overall cardio performance. Keep in mind that during inhalation, the abdomen protrudes allowing the lungs to fully expand. During exhalation, the abdomen should depress into the ribcage and rush out every last bit of breath. Remember to breathe in rhythm. Try it out first at rest, then practice to make perfect breathing.
Are your legs equal in length? Are your back muscles balanced and uniform in strength? In many cases, they might not be. A previous injury, a car accident, poor posture or aging can decondition your body and predispose it to injury. Daily exercise out of balance is similar to driving a car with loose wheels. Consult your chiropractor, physiotherapist or kinesiologist for further advice and make sure you are ready to race the year of the rabbit.
• Dr. David Wang is the Chiropractor at Sunhealth Clinic in Burnaby, SunhealthClinic.ca.