One of today’s popular fitness sayings is “go hard or go home.” This obsession with intensity tempts us to do whatever it takes to up the ante and could potentially make our workout less safe and less effective. This mindset shows up in all forms of exercise from weight lifting to cardio. In a cardio setting, it is not uncommon to see the stair stepper or treadmill running at top speed. Speed must equal the most effective workout, right? This level of speed has its place when done in good form. However, all too often the stair stepper and treadmill are running at full speed with individuals rounded forward and holding on for dear life in order to maintain speed. The treadmills are revolving fast, really fast, with pounding that is notably loud. While the spirit of working hard exists, what impact does poor form and posture have on the body and are results and efficiency achieved? So much of our day is already spent in front of a computer or in a chair rounding our bodies forward. We wouldn’t hit the start button if we weren’t after results. It has been found that continuous light handrail support during exercise reduces physiologic responses to exercise up to 6%! Aerobic benefits are reduced and suboptimal benefits from exercise are seen. In order to take in more oxygen, burn more calories, increase the heart rate and decrease the chances of injury, you must use your core. This means climbing the stairs and running on the treadmill without bending forward or handrail grasping even if it means slowing down. To increase the many benefits of submaximal exercise on the treadmill or stepper, let go and stay light on your feet. You might have to turn your iPod down to hear yourself. Standing tall requires you to use all of your senses and core muscles, balances your muscle recruitment and keeps you aligned. All in all, don’t feel bad if you have to slow down to let go. Studies show you will benefit!
Adding activities like Pilates or yoga to your exercise routine can enhance your balance, strength, coordination and flexibility; tapping into those important core muscles and preparing your body and your mind for the rigorous demands of daily life.
Sara Talbert, Director of Pilates