Aerobic Introduction

If you want a stronger heart, a leaner body, lower cholesterol, improved sleep, nothing beats aerobic exercise. You can strengthen your entire cardiovascular system—heart, lungs and blood vessels—through regular aerobic activities. A stronger, more efficient heart pumps out more blood with each beat. Therefore, it beats less often, saving wear and tear on that vital organ.


Aerobic workouts will also enable your lungs to take in more air each time you breathe and help your body to extract oxygen more efficiently. Oxygen is what gives us energy, so if you are aerobically fit, you have more stamina. You can get through your workouts, as well as everyday tasks, with less effort and more energy. No more huffing and puffing on the stairs, no more telling the kids to go ahead, you’ll catch up and no more being tagged out on the company softball team because you ran out of gas before you reached the base. Being aerobically active also lowers blood pressure and increases that good guy cholesterol, the HDL kind.

Aerobic activity is the “primo” calorie burner of exercises. Burn more calories and you’ll lose fat. If weight loss is your major goal, be sure to include lots of aerobic activity in your workout plan.

On the emotional and social side, studies have shown that being aerobically fit can reduce depression and make you better able to cope with stress. Your body increases production of those natural mood elevators called beta-endorphins, producing a better frame of mind. And being fit boosts self-esteem and your sense of well-being. It also improves your ability to have more fun and to enjoy activities. Your quality of life gets a jump start. Not only will you look better, you’ll feel great. There are lots of reasons to be aerobically active. We can’t think of any reasons why not to.

Getting Started
Before you choose a sport or activity for aerobic benefits, be sure that it truly is an aerobic activity. Aerobic exercise is any activity you do that:

  • Is steady and nonstop
  • Puts you into your “target heart rate zone”
  • Lasts a minimum of 12 minutes
  • Uses the big muscles in the lower body

Some examples of aerobic activities are walking, jogging,running, cycling, rowing, cross-country skiing, skipping and hiking. Examples of activities that are too stop-and-go or too fast or too slow to be considered aerobic are softball, golf, downhill skiing, strength training and horseback riding. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy. If you find stationary cycling boring, ride a bike outdoors. You will probably stay on your bike longer, see some great scenery and benefit from the fresh air. Choosing an activity that you enjoy also means doing something that easily fits into your day such as walking at lunch time or after dinner.

Start slowly. Gentle exercise pays off in the beginning. Your body will adapt and profit from the smallest increase in activity. By starting at an easy pace, you will enjoy your new activity more.

Exercise in your “target heart rate range.” Exercising in this range will ensure that your exercise is at an intensity that you can maintain for an extended period of time, without becoming breathless. It also makes sure that you are challenging yourself enough to see results (refer to Target Heart Rate in this section for more detail.) If you exercise with others, ensure they have similar fitness levels. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, fit friends push us too fast too soon because it is so easy for them. You may end up injured. Likewise, if they aren’t as fit, they’ll be holding you back. Combine moderate levels of activity with more vigorous exercise. For example, if you jog, use a combination of walking and jogging to start. As you progress, walk less and jog more. Stay committed. We all get lazy and skip a day or even a week of exercise. When you don’t exercise regularly, do not feel bad about it. Just get back to it as soon as possible.


Always warm up and cool down. If you decide to jog at a moderate intensity for 15 to 45 minutes the best warm up is a very slow jog for about five minutes. And the best cool down is a five-minute fast walk. Some people like to finish their warm up by stretching the muscles that will be used in the chosen activity. To date, there is conflicting research as to whether warm up stretching helps prevent muscular injuries. However, there is no controversy over cool down stretching. To maintain or increase your flexibility, your muscles must be stretched after every workout. After your workout, your muscles are warm and fatigued and in an ideal state for stretching. Follow the rules of safe stretching. 1) Never stretch cold muscles. Warm up or gently exercise first, then stretch. 2) Hold the position. Do not bounce. A stretch should last 8 to 20 seconds. 3) Never stretch to the point of discomfort. If you feel you could hold the stretch indefinitely without pain, then you are not over stretching. Progress cautiously. In the early stages of an aerobic pragram, you should try to increase the length of your workouts by no more than a couple of minutes at a time. If it hurts, do not do it. If you are in pain your body is telling you something is wrong. Slow down or seek the advice of a medical or fitness professional. Beware of over-training. When overdone, exercise can jeopardize your health and fitness. If you feel fatigued, lethargic, irritable, heavylegged, lose your appetite or develop sleep problems, you need to slow down. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you have had enough.

Getting Results and Staying Motivated

Take the following aerobic fitness test to determine and track your aerobic fitness:


  • Find a flat, level mile. Use a high school track or measure one mile on a road with your car. Warm up by walking or jogging slowly for about five minutes, then start your aerobic pace and time your-self as you cover the mile without going faster than the aerobic pace (or heart rate) you have been practising. This test will tell you how many minutes it takes you to cover one mile, while training in your target heart rate zone.
  • Repeat this test every two to three months to track your progress. Each time, your heart rate and your breathing level should be the same. But the time it takes to cover a mile should go down (or up) as your fitness level goes up (or down). Different types of activities take different lengths of time to show results. You have to walk a long time to get the same benefits you would get from a short session of cross-coun-try skiing. This is not because it takes more effort to ski.Even if walking is done with lots of effort and cross-country skiing done with little effort, the difference is still seen. It’s the number of muscles involved in an exercise that matters. For the fastest results, choose activities like cross-coun-try skiing, rowing and jogging or any other activity that involves the whole body. Swimming, which uses primarily the upper body, and stationary cycling, which uses mostly lower body muscles, are excellent aerobic activities but do not produce the quickest results. You should feel more energy and stamina within a few weeks of starting your aerobic program. Stairs will not seem so challenging and you may feel less fatigued at the end of the day. Weight loss results will really depend on your eating habits, your genetic make up,whether or not you lift weights and your commitment to your program. Lifting weights in addition to your aerobics is always a good idea especially if weight control is an issue for you because the body burns more calories when it has more muscle. If you do include weight training along with aerobics, then quit weighing yourself on a scale. Your body weight may stay the same or even increase, but your clothes will be looser and your body firmer and toned. Throw away the scales, we did.
  • Exercise aerobically as often as possible. Aim for a minimum of three 30-minute exercise sessions per week. Some experts recommend six 12-minute exercise sessions per week. Bear in mind, the fat burning benefits don’t really kick in until after about 12 minutes of exercise in your target heart rate zone. We believe that if you’ve made the effort to get dressed and committed to workout, it should be for at least 20 to 30 minutes. For aerobic exercise, unlike weight training, rest days are not necessary. Determine what works best for you, get into a routine and stick to it. Monitor your aerobic progress by measuring how your body responds and adapts to exercise. For example, check your resting heart rate in the morning after a good night’s rest. As your physical fitness improves, your resting heart rate should decrease. The more efficient your heart becomes as a pump, the less it has to beat when it’s at rest.
  • Keeping track of your heart rate recovery time can also show improvements in your overall fitness level. Take your pulse immediately before your cool down period. Cool down for about five minutes (refer to Cool Down in this section) and then count your pulse again. Compare the two numbers. The greater the difference between the two numbers, the better your level of aerobic fitness. Keep track in your exercise log or journal.
  • Bodybreak_Book2To prevent exercise boredom, have a variety of exercise video tapes on hand, use the TV and radio at home, sign up for fitness classes at a local community centre or join a gym on a monthly basis. You can also change your exercise routine based on the weather. Cycle, walk and in-line skate in the summer and cross country ski and snowshoe in the winter. (Refer to Keeping Motivated in this section for more tips on staying motivated to exercise).

“Don’t hold your breath” or “remember to breathe.” Chances are you’ve heard this from a fitness instructor if you’ve ever set foot in a gym. While it’s an important rule to follow, what instructors often don’t tell you is why you should keep breathing—aside from the obvious that if you don’t breath you turn blue and fall down. Here are the basics on how to breathe properly and why it’s so important to focus on proper technique:



Breathe rhythmically. While jogging, for example, try exhaling on each fourth step. It may help you sustain your energy level.In an aerobics class, if you feel yourself beginning to tire, concentrate on exhaling during the most difficult part of the moves.During any aerobic activity, slow your pace when you begin to feel fatigued. Breathe deeply as you continue to keep your feet moving. Once you have regained your breath, restart the activity but at a more moderate and sustainable level. The Importance of Proper Breathing Muscles need oxygen to work. Deep, regular breathing ensures that oxygen is delivered to the muscles as needed and prevents the body from tiring prematurely.

When you hold your breath your blood pressure rises and then suddenly comes crashing down when you resume breathing. This drastic drop may cause you to become light-headed.

If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure, additional stresses placed upon the body by holding your breath could put you in serious jeopardy. If you have either of these conditions consult your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program. The deep exhale stabilizes the spine. It protects your lower back by building up muscular pressure in the trunk and acts as a natural girdle.

Cool Down

Just be cool and your workouts will end on the right note. Like your warm up, the cool down is an essential part of any exercise session. It’s a chance to lower your heart rate, to stretch those muscles and take some deep breaths, relax and refocus. Here are some general guidelines to make your cool down an effective one.

You should take as long to cool down as you do to warm up. Generally speaking, five minutes is the minimum length a cool down should be.

If you have done a fairly fast-paced workout that has elevated your heart rate, end your workout with some slow aerobic exercise. Ease your heart rate down by pedalling slowly on the stationary bike or taking an easy walk around the block.

Always include stretching in your cool down. Include stretches for all the major muscle groups but give priority to the muscles you use in your workout and in everyday life.

The cool down gives your pulse, blood pressure and breathing a chance to slow down before you hit the shower. If you’re still sweating when you step out of the shower that’s a sure sign you rushed the cool down. Take your time and enjoy it. Think of it not as something you have to fit in,but as a reward for your hard work. The Importance of Stretching

Stretching lengthens muscles and loosens the joints to which they connect. Having long muscles doesn’t mean you get longer legs or arms. It just means the muscles are strong, flexible and healthy, allowing you to move more freely, walk without stiffness and bend, reach and twist with ease. Adequate flexibility is also important in helping to avoid injuries and can

Cross Training

When you’re active for both fun and fitness, the kinds of activity you do aren’t carved in stone. Let the seasons guide you towards different sports or try new things that catch your eye. The only rule is that you keep moving. This is called “cross-training” and it has definite advantages. Psychologically, variety helps to prevent boredom. Plus, by doing more than one sport or activity, you usually gain more balanced fitness. Swimming, for example, builds upper body strength and aerobic capacity; running builds lower body strength and aerobic capacity; and tennis builds leg speed, agility and hand-eye coordination. If you play all three on a regular basis, your all-around fitness will be superior to those who limit themselves to only one of these activities.


The chances of a serious injury are also lower if you crosstrain. By spreading your efforts among different types of exercises you minimize your chances of an injury from overuse caused by excessive stresses on one part of your body. Thiathlon devotees have discovered the benefits of training from one sport to another. They know that a person who runs three days and cycles three days a week will be a better runner or cyclist than the person who does either of the sports alone three days a week. It’s just the way our bodies like to work. The amount of cross-training benefit you can gain from two activities depends on their similarities. Although you can train your aerobic capacity with any activity that elevates your heart rate, you will gain more if the activities you choose use the same muscle groups. Cycling, running, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and in-line skating all primarily exercise your leg muscles, while swimming and rowing target the upper body. If you are already committed to a sport or activity and enjoying the benefits, that’s great. But if you want to improve your athletic performance by adding a new activity, choose wisely. Pick an activity that will help you reach your goals and reach them without injury.

Exercising During Cold & Hot Weather

When the weather turns cold and snowy or hot and humid, are you tempted to abandon your exercise program? Motivating yourself during extreme weather conditions can be a challenge and it can be tough to get going on those frosty mornings or steamy afternoons. But it is well worth it. Even if you don’t do as much exercise as you might normally, even a minimal amount of movement will benefit your body and, more importantly, keep you in your exercise routine. The other thing to consider is that when the temperature soars or drops dramatically, it may not be safe to do your usual exercise routines.

In high temperatures—over 32°C—the body quickly becomes dehydrated. In high humidity—over 75%—the cooling action of perspiration is less effective and your body temperature can soar to dangerous levels. In extremely cold weather the possibility of frostbite is always a concern and some people experience temporary breathing trouble while exercising.


Different Exercise Choices
Exercising indoors in a temperature-controlled atmosphere is your safest bet during extreme weather conditions. Try the shopping mall for your daily walk, a televised exercise program for a change, the local gym or invest in a piece of
home fitness equipment.

If you choose to continue your outdoor workouts, pick a time of day when the temperature is more moderate. An early morning workout along a shaded pathway is a safe bet on hot days. During the winter months, look for a route sheltered from the wind and take advantage of the warm
sunny hours of the day. And watch out for ice on sidewalks or slippery frost-covered paths.

Extreme Weather Dressing
When exercising in the heat, wear loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Wear sunblock (SPF 15 or higher), a hat and sunglasses.In the cold, you want to avoid hypothermia and frostbite at all costs. Do this by wearing multiple layers of clothes. Make sure you cover your head and wear mittens instead of gloves. These simple steps will prevent heat from escaping from your body. You may find that a scarf loosely tied around your mouth helps to warm the cold air as you inhale.

Additional Tips
Drink lots of water. A person of average weight should drink at least 12 cups of water a day if working out in the heat. Remember to replace lost fluids during the winter months as well. High altitudes can also mean you need more water.
Do not keep exercising if you feel dizzy, faint or nauseated. These are signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and may occur when your body is working at such a high level of intensity that it can’t cool itself. It is not worth taking the chance, so take it easy.

Exercise should make you feel good.
If you feel chilled or sense any numbness or discomfort, be sensible and head indoors as soon as possible. Though not usually life threatening, cold exposure can certainly ruin your outdoor exercise activities.

Fat Burning

For years some fitness magazines and fitness instructors preached about the advantages of exercising at a low intensity or in the “fat burning zone.” The theory was that because your body uses a high percentage of fat as its fuel during long, slow aerobic workouts, you would burn more body fat by exercising at a slower pace, rather than at a faster tempo, where carbohydrates are the primary fuel source. There is no question that fat supplies a relatively large percentage of the energy required during prolonged, low intensity aerobic exercise. But at this low intensity, relatively  few total calories are burned. By contrast, higher intensity aerobic exercise uses a smaller percentage of fat but results in a greater number of calories being burned. When all the calculations are done, the numbers show that more fat is burned during the higher intensity exercise.


Does this mean that all exercisers looking to burn fat should be exercising at high intensities? Not at all. If you have been sedentary, doing high intensity exercise—exercising at a target heart rate of 70% to 85%— will be impossible to keep up for an extended period of time. It makes sense that lower intensity exercise—at a target heart rate of 50% to 60%—is more effective and appropriate in the early stages of training. (Refer to Target Heart Rate in this section for more detail.)

In reality, whatever kind of exercise you will continue to do on a regular basis is the best exercise for burning fat. The more calories you burn the better, as long as you don’t over do it. If you prefer low intensity activities, that’s great. But you need not limit yourself to that level if you are in good shape and enjoy working harder.

It’s also important to remember that the fat burning power of exercise doesn’t end when your workout does. Regular aerobic exercise raises your metabolism so that you continue to burn calories at a higher rate for up to several hours after your workout.

If you want to become a better “calorie burning machine” once you have been exercising on a regular basis, use the fol-
lowing guidelines:

  • Start by developing a reasonable level of aerobic fitness. Exercise three to four times per week for 25 to 40 minutes at a moderate intensity (60% to 70% of your target heart rate.
  • Gradually increase the exercise duration to 50 to 60 minutes at least three to five days per week and raise the intensity as high as you can safely sustain it (no higher than 85% of target heart rate).
  • Include strength training twice a week to increase your muscle size or mass. Remember, muscle is denser than fat and takes up less room, so when we use words like size and mass, it doesn’t mean big, bulky muscles unless you especially train to achieve that.
  • Allow at least six months to realize significant body changes. You may notice small things at first; for example, your abdominal muscles may seem tighter or your legs may seem stronger. However, you have to be consistent in order to see significant changes such as weight loss. Keep in mind that you may find exercise more enjoyable at a more comfortable pace than we’ve suggested above. You’re also more likely to stick with your program if you don’t.
Fitting Exercise into Your Day

Do you feel like you just don’t have time to exercise? Do you feel stretched to the limit with all the family and business demands and stresses you confront every day? You’re not alone. Here are a few practical suggestions to help you fit exercise into your day:


  • Make an appointment with yourself to get up 20 to 30 minutes earlier in the morning to exercise. People who exercise in the morning find it an invigorating way to start the day and are also less likely to cancel due to last minute work or family demands.
  • Use your lunch break at work. People who exercise during the day are more productive and have better levels of concentration than those who don’t.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
  • Instead of just watching your kids play in the yard, get out there and join in the fun.
  • Make a deal with your partner or a friend. If they’ll care for your children while you go for a walk, you’ll watch theirs when they take time out for themselves.
  • Make your exercise time a shared time with your partner or family. You can run, your partner can cycle, the kids can inline skate.
  • When there’s work to be done, don’t always wait for the strongest or most capable person to handle it. Lift those boxes or move that furniture as long as you can handle it comfortably. It may take you a little longer but the job will be done and you will have done a mini workout in the process.
  • If you’re volunteering at your children’s school get involved in a physical activity. You’ll be setting a great example for them and squeezing some extra exercise into your day at the same time.
  • After you’ve settled the children in bed for the night get in 20 minutes on the treadmill while watching your favourite TV show or listening to music.
  • Perform a five minute stretching and strengthening routine just before climbing into bed. It will have a positive effect on your muscles and also help you drift off to sleep more quickly.
  • It takes time and commitment to ensure that exercise is a part of your daily life. The reward for your efforts is an improved quality of life and a healthier, fitter you.
Joining a Gym for Aerobic Activity


Is it better to exercise at home or at a gym? While working  out at home is cheaper, it really depends on your personal  needs and preferences where you work out. If you are self -motivated and prefer the solitude of exercising solo, workout  at home. If not, here’s what to look for when joining a gym  for aerobic activity.

  • Where is the facility located? Research shows that people  are most likely to stick with an exercise program when the  gym is located close to either home or work.
  • Does the facility have the type of aerobic equipment that  you want to use and is it well maintained? Be sure that  there are a variety of machines. Beware of “out of order”  signs, particularly those that linger for over 24 hours. Give  the equipment a test drive to ensure it operates smoothly  and quietly. Also, is it well maintained and is it in good  working order?
  • Are there signs or diagrams near each piece of aerobic  equipment explaining how to use it? If an instructor is not  available to assist you, signs can help you use it on your  own.
  • Do not be discouraged if at first you can exercise for only a  few short minutes on some aerobic machines. It takes time  for your body to adapt to each new piece of equipment,    particularly if you are a beginner. Pace yourself by starting  off slowly and gradually increasing the exercise time.
  • Do the aerobic equipment and/or types of aerobic classes  available interest you? If the activities offered are cycling,  rowing and swimming but you want to play racquet sports  and run on an indoor track, look for a facility that offers  more variety.
  • If you are interested in aerobic  classes, is the floor a sprung  wood floor, which lessens impact  to the joints?
  • Are there a variety of classes  offered throughout the day?  Does the schedule offer separate  classes for beginners through to  advanced participants? As you  become more experienced and  your work and family schedules  change these  factors will become important  in helping you to continue with  your exercise program.
  • Is there a variety of equipment  available for use in classes? A  wide variety of classes, including  those using equipment, will help to keep you motivated  and provide new training goals.
  • Is the facility clean and generally well maintained? You’re  much more likely to return on a  regular basis if the showers are clean and the environment  is tidy and well organized. Most facilities require members  to wipe down equipment with a towel after use. Is the air temperature cool and is there good air circulation? Air conditioning is an important component in the  prevention of dehydration and overheating. Also the  smell of perspiration in the air may discourage you from  returning regularly.Before you begin exercising, are you required to complete a  health screening form or fitness assessment? Both of these  procedures alert staff members to any illnesses or limitations you may have and will help them to evaluate your  capabilities.
  • What is the payment plan? Beware of facilities charging  high initiation fees and demanding long term memberships. Many clubs allow members to pay on a weekly or
  • monthly basis and that’s your best bet.
  • How busy is the facility? Visit during the times when you  plan to exercise. Some gyms are empty at certain hours  and overflowing with members at others. Is the gym able  to accommodate a large number of members during  peak periods? If the place is a zoo, so much for a stressbusting workout.
  • What additional services are available? Many facilities offer  massage, restaurants and social clubs. Though you may not  be interested in these things now, one day you may be.
  • Are you comfortable with the facility’s clientele? Don’t be  scared off by the size or fitness level of the instructors or  members. There are usually people of all levels of experience at every gym. Besides, you can learn a lot from working out around more experienced exercisers. On the other  hand, you may feel more comfortable exercising in a gym  that caters to people of your own sex or age range.
  • Is there an instructor available to design a personal program for you based on your capabilities? If you are new to  exercise or haven’t exercised regularly in the past, it is very important to have a professional advise you on what type  of exercises are best for you.
  • Do the instructors seem genuinely interested in the members or are they more focused on sales? Ask other members how happy they are with the customer service the  gym provides. The locker room is a good place to find out  what members really think.
  • Does the facility hire qualified, certified instructors? To  create a safe and effective program, an instructor needs a  good background in exercise design and technique. Find  out which qualifications are acceptable in your area and  then ask the instructors about their education.

If you have young children, are there babysitting services

Keeping Motivated

You’ve started a fitness program.

You’re exercising three times a week  and feeling pretty proud of yourself.  But wait—you’ve been here before. This  is the point where you always seem to  be unable to stick with it. The excuses  mount, the workouts get missed and  the next thing you know, all your hard  work is behind you. Literally.  Well, never fear. This time, you’re  going to stick with your program. Follow  these guidelines to stay motivated and  on track with your new lifestyle.  Pace yourself. New exercisers often  attempt too much, too soon during the  first week of their exercise programs.  This can lead to soreness, fatigue and  injuries. Plus, unfamiliarity with movements and equipment can sometimes  prove frustrating. Begin slowly. Work  at a comfortable pace and gradually increase the time and  intensity. Remember that it is natural to feel awkward at this  point and you aren’t in this for the short term.


Think long term. Look at the big picture. Focusing on exercise for just a couple of months might provide you with some of the benefits and results you are striving for but not over the long term. When you stop exercising, the body gradually returns to its original condition. Make sure your program includes variety, flexibility and fun. If you enjoy working out, you’ll want to keep it up.

Focus on the pleasure. Beware of the pleasurable aspects of your workouts, such as the early morning sun, the camaraderie of friends or the beauty of nature around you.

Recognize all the benefits. Concentrate on the many benefits your body is reaping, not just in appearance, but in general health. Be aware of your increased energy levels, better sleep patterns, ability to cope with stress and your enhanced selfesteem. These are just a few of the benefits many exercisers enjoy. There is no better high than after you finish a workout. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when you experience it, you’ll know it. No matter how you feel when you start exercising, each and every time out, you will feel a sense of accom-
plishment when you do it and you’ll feel better afterwards.

Watch for danger signals. Once you’re into your program, it’s easy to miss workouts due to family and business commitments.Don’t fall off the wagon. If you miss workouts, feelings of guilt and self-blame can pile up, making you feel worse. Remember that conflicts with work, social, recreational or emotional events or issues are inevitable and that they’re completely acceptable reasons for missing exercise sessions. However, instead of focusing on the missed exercise sessions, focus on your successes—and get yourself back on track, at the gym or in the pool.

Solicit support. Let your friends and family members know that their continued support means a lot to you. If you are feeling your commitment slip, talk to a friend or fitness professional and develop a strategy that will help keep you exercising. Don’t ever let people around you sabotage your efforts or make you feel bad about exercising or eating healthier. We suggest you avoid these negative people because they will only cause
you to feel bad about a good thing.

Reward yourself. Fitting exercise in can be inconvenient and even difficult some days. Devise a way to reward yourself for the efforts you are making and be proud of your progress. Treat yourself to a special cold drink at the end of a run, new workout gear or a massage. These are wonderful ways to congratulate yourself. Or make up a reward chart and give yourself a treat when you achieve certain goals. Just remember to try to avoid using too many high-fat foods as a reward.


Change may be want you need. We find that changing your exercise program can make a big difference if you find that you are lacking motivation. Joining a community program, cycling instead of walking, or buying a piece of fitness equipment can help you keep motivated.

A Log. A log helps you keep track of your exercise routine. Joanne likes to hang a calendar in her bathroom and write down what activities she has done over a month. At a glance, she can quickly see if she is exercising regularly. If you do not keep track, it’s easy to think that you have done more than you really have.

Choosing The Proper Exercise Shoes

There really is a shoe for just about everything and with  the dozens of exercise shoes on the market today, deciding which type to buy can sometimes be confusing . There are so  many options that choosing the  right pair has become increasingly complicated . Following these
guidelines will help you make an  educated footwear decision guaranteed to result in happy feet and  an extra spring in your step .


Know What You Need When shopping for athletic shoes, your first step is to determine the
sport or activity you need them for . Most sports goods stores carry a variety of shoes designed for specific activities such as running, walking, tennis, basketball and aerobics . Multi-purpose shoes called cross-trainers may be a good bet if you plan to combine several activities, such as bicycling, walking and strength training . once you have decided on your shoe, it’s important to know how to get a good fit .

Guidelines for Buying Shoes

  1. Point of Purchase: Choose a store with a large inventory and  knowledgeable sales staff It will provide a wide variety of  shoes and sizes and staff trained to help you make the right  decision .
  2. Support: one of the first questions the sales staff will ask  you is about your pronation . What’s that? Well, the natural  inward roll of the foot that occurs on every step is called
    “pronation” and it’s fine . But if you over-pronate, meaning your foot rolls or your feet roll in too much, you could  develop arch strain and pain on the inside of the knee .on  the other hand, if your foot rolls too much to the outside,  that is under-pronation and you are more susceptible to  ankle sprains and stress fractures . You can determine your  personal foot mechanics by checking to see if your everyday walking shoes lean in or out at the heels when you set  them side by side on a flat surface . The wear on the soles  is also a good indication . Some exercisers find they require  custom-moulded orthotic shoe inserts to exercise comfortably .
  3. Comfort: Your arches should feel supported and the heel  snug . There should be a half inch, or the width of your index  finger, between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe . There should be no pressure points .
  4. Cushioning: Jump up and down, jog on the spot and try  some stride jumps . Don’t worry about looking goofy  in the store . You’ll look even goofier if those expensive  shoes start pinching ten minutes after you get to the  gym . Also be sure that the shoe provides cushioning  from any jarring movements .
  5. Stability: Test forefoot stability by jumping on your toes and  rearfoot stability by feeling if your heel rolls inward or outward . Evaluate lateral stability by jumping side to side .Your  feet should stay centred in all cases .
  6. Outsole Traction: Walk on a surface comparable to the floor  or carpet you exercise on . Ensure that the shoe glides and  pivots well and does not slip or snag .  Remember that athletic shoes no longer require a breakin period . They should feel comfortable and supportive during your first workout so don’t buy shoes that don’t feel right   assuming that they’ll ease up and quit pinching after a few wears .

If you wear athletic shoes two to four times per week you can expect their cushioning and support to last four to eight months . For runners, shoes need to be replaced after approximately 500 miles . It is important to be aware of when your shoes have outlived their usefulness because if they are no longer absorbing the pounding action of the sport, your knees and ankles may be more prone to injury .

Finally, you may have noticed that the simple canvas exercise shoe of the past has been replaced by high-tech, stateof-the-art athletic gear . Be sure to consider both your budget and your fitness needs before spending a small fortune on shoes . Many manufacturers make quality shoes without the high price tag, so shop around . Just apply our shoe buying principles to determine what is best for you.

Spot Reducing

One of the most common fitness myths is that you can “spot  reduce .” Doing 1,000 sit-ups will indeed give you stronger  abdominal muscles, but it will do nothing to whittle your waist . If this information is new to you, we aren’t surprised . There are plenty of people who still mistakenly believe in spot  reducing .


We hate to burst your bubble but here are the fat facts:

The common belief is that if you do lots of side-lying leg lifts,  the fat deposits on your thighs will melt away, or if you walk  endless miles, your legs will lose the excess fat . Unfortunately,  nothing could be further from the truth . When you burn fat your body continuously removes it  in small quantities from all of the many fat storage areas  in your body . You cannot selectively remove fat from any  63one area of choice .

The reverse is also true . You can’t select where your body  stores excess fat . Your body is a gracious host . When fat  comes to stay, there’s always plenty of room all over . While  some people store a greater proportion of fat on their thighs,  upper arms or abdomen, the fat is still settling in all over the  body .others have their fat distributed more evenly . The way
in which your fat is distributed is determined by heredity . So  you may think chocolate cake goes right to your hips . The  truth is, it goes everywhere .

Don’t be fooled by those claims that you can sweat off  fat with plastic sauna pants or melt it away with expensive  creams . The only way to rid your body of unwanted excess fat  is to decrease the calories you consume (never below 1,200  calories daily), burn more calories through increased aerobic  activity and lift weights . It is the Body Break approach . So hop  on a bike, pump some iron and eat lower-fat foods .  over time you should see a loss of fat in the areas that  concern you the most . If you don’t, remember that genetics  play a strong role in how your fat is deposited and you may  have to come to terms with having some extra in particular  areas of your body

Target Heart Rate

Our target heart rate (THR) helps you exercise at a safe and effective pace that’s right  for you. The key is to make sure activities  aren’t so hard that you get discouraged and  not so easy that you don’t see results or fail  to get into the fat burning zone.


The answer is to work in your target heart  rate zone. This is based upon your age and fitness level and is designed to give maximum aerobic and fat burning benefits for  you as an individual.
Target Heart Rate

easiest way to calculate:
# 220 minus your age then multiply that number  by 50% and 85%.

The numbers represent lower and upper  end of your target heart rate zone.

220 – ________ = ________ x .50     = ________ (Minus your age) (THR) (lower THR)
# 20 – ________ = ________ x .85
= ________ (THR)(upper THR)

While you exercise, your heart rate should fall between  these two numbers.

If you are just starting, strive to keep your heart rate  towards the low end of your target heart rate zone (50% to  60%).

 If you have been exercising regularly, your heart rate can  fall within the low to middle zone (60% to 70%).

 For those who wish to exercise at a higher intensity, your   heart rate should fall in the upper zone (70% to 85%).


Over 55 – we recommend you consult your physician when starting an exercise program.
Target Heart Rate Zone

Listen to Your Body  You can also check how well you are doing throughout your  workout just by listening to your body. For example, if you  are so out of breath that you cannot speak comfortably or if  you’re bent over half the time gasping for air, these are clear  signals from your body to ease off.  Going faster and harder is not always better. If you are  just starting, you probably can’t keep a faster pace going long  enough to make it worth your while and you could end up  getting injured. If you slow down, you will be able to exercise a
lot longer. Oxygen is required to move your muscles and burn

The ultimate test: You should be able to carry on a conversation with your walking buddy or the person on the next  stationary bike while you are exercising.

Taking Your Pulse
Monitoring your heart rate (pulse) while you exercise will let  you know if your exercise program is making you fit. Your  heart responds to exercise like any other muscle in your body. If you work your heart on a regular basis it will make  it stronger, just like lifting weights will improve your muscle  strength. As you get fitter your heart can pump more blood  with every beat. In turn, your heart does not have to beat as  often to get the needed oxygen to the muscles. The less your  heart has to beat during rest and exercise the better.
• While you exercise, try to keep up the intensity of your  workout and take your pulse for a count of ten seconds  then multiply by six. This will give you an estimated heart  rate per minute.
• To take your heart rate or pulse, use your first two fingers,  never your thumb. Press your fingertips lightly just under-neath your jawbone on the right or left side of your neck  (in the groove of your neck).
• Monitor your heart rate (pulse) periodically during your  workout as you continue to keep up the same intensity. If  it’s too high, back off a little so that your heart rate lowers  to a more appropriate exercise level that is safe for you and  effective. But if you find that your heart rate is too low, pick  up the pace and check your pulse again after about five  minutes of exercise.
• The drawback to this basic method of taking your pulse is   that it’s difficult to get an accurate reading. Heavy breathing and muscle movements can make it hard to find your pulse. Often you can’t count fast enough to get all your  heart beats and if you stop or slow your exercise intensity,  it will not give you a true indication of how hard you are
•An alternative to the basic method for taking your pulse is  a heart rate monitor ( refer to Heart Rate Monitor in Home  Fitness section).

Warm Up for Aerobic Activity

You have probably heard exercise instructors and trainers  talk about the importance of always including a warm up in  your exercise routine. They’re absolutely right. A good warm  up is an essential component of a good workout. But just  what do they mean by warming up?


General Phase
The general phase of the warm up consists of easy, rhythmic movements. Easy cycling, walking and slow jogging are all good examples of general warm up activities. These exercises gradually begin to raise the heart rate and increase the body’s core temperature, in essence, warming you up from the inside out.

Specific Phase
The specific phase of the  warm up consists of activities that mimic the movements to be performed in  the main portion of the  workout. For example in  a step class, low intensity
step moves are included  at the start of the class  to prepare people for the  same moves that will be  done with more intensity  during the aerobic section.  Some exercisers like to  stretch at the end of their  warm up and that’s fine,  but the jury is still out as to how much good it does. Research  shows that there is no difference in the injury rate between  those who stretch during the warm up phase and those who  don’t. Listen to your body and do what feels best for you  (refer to Cool Down in this section if you wish to stretch).

Why is the warm up a key component of every workout?

  • It prepares your mind for the workout ahead. Starting out  slowly eases your mind as well as your body into the workout. Troubles and stresses of the day gradually disappear  as you are required to concentrate on your technique and  performance.
  • It helps prevent injuries. The warm up increases the body’s core temperature and also increases the elasticity of  muscles and connective tissue. Warm, flexible muscles are  much less prone to injury.
  • It enhances oxygen supply to the muscles. The flow of blood  and oxygen to the muscles increases during warm up. When  the working muscles receive more oxygen and nutrients during a workout, the result is improved athletic performance.
  • It helps you pace yourself. If you rush into a workout without  a warm up you may fatigue quickly. A progressive warm up  involves all of the body’s energy systems and prevents large amounts of lactic acid build up and muscle fatigue. Good  pacing allows you to work comfortably for longer.
  • It improves heart function. The warm up prepares your heart  for the demands that will be put on it as the intensity of  the workout builds. It also reduces the risk of electrical abnormalities which may occur in the heart as a result of  rushing into the workout.
Aerobic Classes

Aerobic classes have been phenomenally popular for years.  They appeal to a wide variety of
exercisers but particularly those  who enjoy a social environment,  regularly scheduled formal exercise and need the on-going  encouragement of an instructor. Traditionally, classes have  been more popular with women,  but today with the addition of  various athletic-based formats,  classes are attracting men in ever  increasing numbers.


How to Get Started
• Choose an exercise facility that offers a wide variety of classes. Be sure there are a number of class options available for you once you graduate from the beginner level.
• Choose a facility that hires qualified and certified instructors. To create a safe and effective program, an instructor needs a good grounding in exercise design and technique.
Find out which qualifications are acceptable in your area and then ask the instructors about
their educational backgrounds.

• Always exercise on a wood sprung floor to lessen the impact to your joints. Repeated pounding of the feet on a hard surface produces stresses to the shins, feet and back that can result in injury.
• Include a variety of classes in your program. Variety will help to keep you motivated and interested in continuing your workouts.
• Be sure there is an element of fun in each class you attend. If you can find instructors and class formats that you enjoy you are more likely to attend regularly.
• Wear comfortable, lightweight exercise clothes. Avoid heavy sweat suits that will trap perspiration and cause overheating.
• Proper shoes are critical in avoiding injury. Purchase a shoe designed specifically for aerobics. They’re constructed to provide additional forefoot cushioning and lateral stability.
Aerobic Class Etiquette
• A void talking and chattering to your friends or neighbours during the class. Continual talking during class can ruin the concentration of other participants as well as the instructor
and indicates you are not focusing and working as hard as you should be.
• Do not wear heavy perfumes to class. Once you begin to sweat, the smell intensifies and spreads throughout the room bothering participants with asthma and allergies. Also, on the subject of odour, remember your deodorant! Any strong odour can make the atmosphere miserable for your fellow exercisers.
• Communicate with your instructor. If you’re new, pregnant or nursing an injury, let her know so she can provide alternatives for you when necessary. She may also have some pre- or post-class pointers to make the class more enjoyable and easier to follow. If you have feedback regarding any aspect of the class, the best instructors are open to constructive suggestions and will do all they can to accommodate your needs.

• Clean up after yourself. It only takes a minute to return dumbbells and other equipment to their storage places and pick up your towel and used tissues. Since many clubs run back-to-back classes, leaving the room messy delays the start of the next class and can annoy the participants.

• Perform controlled movements. When momentum is introduced the risk of injury is greatly increased. Use your muscles to lift and lower your limbs into position.
• Avoid bouncing. Bouncing during stretches and other warm-up activities has been linked to injuries. Holding stretches has been proven much more effective in increasing flexibility.
• Practise good body alignment. Listen to and watch your instructor carefully as she demonstrates and explains the proper alignment for each exercise. Good alignment will
ensure that the proper muscles are getting a safe and effective workout.
• Breathe. Your muscles need oxygen to work.

Getting Results

• Take responsibility for your own workout. Don’t rely on
your instructor to do it for you. Pace yourself. The best instructors offer options for increasing and decreasing exercise intensity throughout their classes. During the aerobic portion of the class be sure you are exercising in your target heart rate zone for maximum results. Wearing a heart rate monitor allows you, at a glance, to measure your heart rate (refer to Target Heart Rate in this section for more detail).

Cross-Country Skiing

If you’re looking for an aerobic powerhouse with a one-two  punch of a heart pumping workout that gets virtually ever  muscle in your body involved, then cross-country skiing is for you. Scientific testing has shown that some competitive  cross-country skiers have the highest level of aerobic fitness  of any other Olympic athletes. Plus it’s a great way to laugh at winter and get out and enjoy the beautiful snow-covered  landscape.


Cross-country skiing is also unique because, although it can be very demanding physically, it’s easy to learn. Once you pick up that rhythm, you’re on your way to enjoying a great activity.

How to Get Started
• Purchase or rent skis, boots and poles from a reputable retailer. Be sure that the length of the skis and poles is appropriate for your height and level of expertise. Skis are available both waxed and waxless. The waxless version requires less fuss and provides more control on downhill parts of the trail. Once you have become proficient you may want the better overall performance and speed afforded by waxable skis. You will then have to learn how to match the wax to the type of snow and to change it as snow conditions change.

• Take some lessons. Even though the skills are basic and simple to learn, a lesson or two from a pro ensures that you develop the correct technique and get the most effective workout. Simply “walking” on your skis provides little benefit. If lessons aren’t your thing, go to the library or surf the “net” and read up on the activity.
• Wear multiple layers of thin clothing. As your body temperature increases and you begin to perspire you can remove layers as needed. Discarded layers can be carried in a knapsack or waist pouch. Avoid wearing clothes that are loose and baggy. They won’t keep you as warm and will chafe against each other as your legs and arms pump forward and backward. Warm tights and close fitting sweaters are the best options. Don’t forget a hat and lightweight insulated gloves or mittens.
• Carry water with you and drink regularly. Your body functions best when it is fully hydrated.
• Practise in a snow-covered park or on any other relatively smooth, traffic-free surface. As your skills improve and you’re more comfortable, challenge yourself with a true cross-country trail at a local ski club.

• Your first time out, use the skis like snowshoes and use your poles to tramp across the snow for balance. Once you are comfortable, progress to a gliding motion with your skis and a pushing action with your poles.
• The kick and glide technique is the classic way to cross- country ski. It involves using your poles to propel yourself along, not just to help you retain your balance.

The upper and lower body work together in a rhythm of kicks, long glides and propelling poling motions. Eventually, you should be gliding across the snow with your body at a 45 to 60 degree angle to the ground.
• After your workout stretch all the major muscles of the body. This will help you to retain or increase your flexibility. Good flexibility is critical in preventing muscle strains (refer to Cool Down in this section).

Getting Results
• Cross-country skiing can be a challenging workout so pace yourself accordingly. If you find it difficult to sustain your pace, use an interval training technique. Ski hard for a few minutes then slow your pace for a few minutes. As you become more fit, increase the length of the hard interval and/or decrease the length of the recovery interval.
• Use common sense to ensure you have a safe workout. Approach downhill trails with caution and know your personal limitations. Cross-country skiing injuries are relatively uncommon. However, if you lack flexibility you’ll be more prone to muscle strains and injury due to falls. So be sure to warm up well before you head out on the trails.


Cycling is one of the most  efficient and easy to learn  forms of exercise . It’s an ideal  activity for at least two reasons . First, people of all ages  and fitness levels can benefit  from hopping on a bike . And  second, bicycles do double  duty as cheap, healthy transportation . Think of it as getting from point A to point B,  with an extra dose of daily  exercise as your payoff .



Helmets: Always wear a helmet . Choose one that is approved  by the Canadian Standards Association, the Snell Memorial  Foundation or the American National Standards Institute .
If you have an accident that damages your helmet in any  way, replace it immediately . Damage to the shock- absorbing polystyrene core may not be noticeable . When you buy
a helmet look for the same features for yourself and your  children . Ask the sales staff about the shock absorbency,  comfort and fit, impenetrability and security of the straps  and buckles .

Clothing: Padded cycling shorts help reduce pressure points  and chafing on the insides of the legs . If you’re not comfortable with the skintight style try the regular shorts version
with concealed padding . Padded gloves are also a good  idea . They will protect your hands in the event of a fall  and will also help prevent calluses from forming on your  76hands .

Locks: Unfortunately, a determined bicycle thief can break just  about any type of lock . The U-shaped locks seem to be the  safest bet, if only because thieves need more sophisticated
tools to break them .

Tool Kit: Carry a basic repair kit containing: an inner tube or  patch kit, a pump, tire levers, Allen keys, wrenches and a  chain breaker . Remember that the tools won’t help you if you
don’t know how to use them so be sure to ask at your local  bike store for some help .
• Choose safe roads in your neighourhood . Traffic-clogged  streets and impatient drivers can be a potentially lethal  combination for cyclists . For obvious reasons, avoid roads  with potholes, sewer grates and railroad tracks .
• Whenever possible, use bike paths . The open space and  absence of cars and smelly trucks creates a safer and more  relaxing environment . Designated paths also allow you to  cycle continuously without frequent stops for traffic lights  and stop signs . If you have bike paths in your area your  local city hall or municipal offices will have a cycling path
map often free of charge .
• A bike is a vehicle too, so follow the rules of the road . Ride with the traffic, obey all signs and use hand signals  to alert drivers to your intentions . Equip your bicycle  with a headlight and reflectors to improve your visibility  at night . A bell or horn is also a good idea and is law in  some provinces .
• Do not pedal in high gear for long periods . This can  increase the pressure on your knees and lead to overuse  injuries . Shift to lower gears and faster revolutions to get  more exercise with less stress on your knees . The best  cadence for most cyclists is 60 to 80 revolutions per minute

Ice Skating

ce skating, whether in a heated  indoor rink, on an outdoor pond  or in your own backyard, can be an  invigorating and enjoyable way to  endure a long winter . All you need  for a fun and effective workout is to  be able to perform the basic skating strokes . You may be gold medal  material and not even know it! So  lace up and let’s get going .


• Purchase or rent a pair of good  skates . Fit is crucial . Be sure there  is minimal room for your foot to  move around inside the boot . When you are trying on skates,  wear the same type of socks  that you will wear when skating . Blisters, cramps and sore feet are  signs of poorly fitting skates or  skates that have been handed down one too many times .
• Never buy skates a size or two bigger for your children so  that they can grow into them . If they don’t fit, they hurt,  plus they can damage a child’s feet . The wrong skates will adversely affect your child’s skating abilities and that’s the  kind of thing that makes kids give up the sport .
• ”Floppy ankles”—when your ankles collapse inward or outward—usually signifies a problem with the skates . There is  additional leather or, in less expensive skates, plastic that  wraps around the heel for extra support . If the top of your  skate flops over when you take it off, the skates are too  worn and it’s time for a new pair .
• Unlike athletic shoes, skates take time to break in . Plan  short skating sessions to start . After a few weeks of skating  regularly, they should feel comfortable and mold to the
shape of your foot .

How to Get Started
• Keep your skates sharp . If you skate every other day,  depending on the intensity of your workout, one sharpening may last two weeks . Professional hockey players  sharpen their blades every day, sometimes even between  periods .outdoor ice is harder and has more ‘grit’ and will  require your skates to be sharpened more often .
• Dress to stay warm . Wear multiple layers of thin clothing . As your body temperature increases and you begin to  perspire you can remove layers as needed . Avoid wearing clothes that are loose and baggy . They will not keep you as  warm and may hinder your movement . Jeans are not ideal  for a serious skating workout because they get wet and
weigh you down . We all know how horrible cold wet jeans  feel! Warm tights and close fitting sweaters are the best  options . If you aren’t in a heated arena, remember a hat
and gloves or mittens .
• Do not forget tissues . All skaters get a runny nose because  of the cold .
• Many community rinks provide learn-to-skate programs for  all levels from little ones to adults . They also have pleasure  kating times and adults only skates . Some even have free skating hours on weekday afternoons and during holidays .  Call your local rink for details .
Posture and Technique
• Always keep your knees bent . Skating is all about balance  and the key to balance is bending your knees .
• Keep your back straight, not hunched .
• Hold your head up and look straight ahead, not down .
• “Stroking” is the basic movement used to get you across  the ice . Transfer your weight from one foot to the other  and push back and to the side to create the force to move
forward .
• To stroke backwards, bend your knees and pigeon-toe your  right foot in . Push off with the ball of your right foot from  the inside edge . Glide backward on your left foot . Bring
your feet back together for balance . Repeat with the left  foot . Think of carving a big letter C with your pushing leg .
Getting Results
• When skating for extended periods in an arena, reverse  your direction for half the workout if you can . This will prevent key muscles from being overused and fatiguing prematurely .
• To increase the intensity, add a hockey stick and puck .
• Wear a hockey helmet when you are starting out—that  goes for you and your children . Unfortunately, many of us  were brought up to believe that once you know how to  skate, you throw away the helmet . However, the risk of a  head injury is still there . Until more people wear a helmet  it won’t be seen as a “‘cool’ thing to do . Also wear a helmet  if you are stick handling and exercising at a moderate-tohigh intensity .
• Never wear ankle weights to increase the intensity . The  stress applied to the feet and legs could cause injury .
• If you want to skate for fitness, wear a heart rate monitor to  see if you are skating within your target heart rate zone

In-line Skating

In-line skating has increased  in popularity because it’s  fun . In-line skating is a low  impact and easy to learn activity that the whole family can  get involved with . You can significantly increase your level  of aerobic fitness, muscular  strength, muscular endurance  and balance through regular  in-line skating .


How to Get Started

• Get the right skates . They should fit snugly and comfortably without pressure points . Consider renting skates the first time or two before investing in your own pair .
• Protect yourself with safety gear . Wrist guards, kneepads, elbow pads and a helmet should always be worn . No exceptions, no excuses . They’ll protect you and your children from cuts, bruises and other nasty injuries . Too many in-line skaters of all ages get hurt because they don’t wear safety gear . The speed of the sport, debris on roads and paths and traffic can all pose a danger even if you consider yourself an excellent skater .
• Practise in a safe environment . Start out inside the rental shop, on a flat driveway or holding the hand of a friend who’s not on skates . These are all good ways to get a feel
for the sport .
• once you’re a little more comfortable, find a smooth flat outdoor surface free of traffic and other dangers . An empty parking lot, a schoolyard, a local track or a tennis court are good places to practise your technique .
• Practise the same skating technique you use on ice . Keep your head up, body tall and hips balanced over one foot as you shift your weight . Swing your arms rhythmically from side to side in a controlled manner . Push off with the entire foot not just the toes or legs .
• Learn at least one method of stopping that doesn’t involve landing on your backside . Either use the heel brake or drag one skate sideways . You should be in control at all times,
especially if you progress to skating on roadways with cars and pedestrians .
• Take lessons to learn the basics of proper skating, turning and stopping techniques . Many private organizations, equipment rental companies and municipal facilities offer lessons at a reasonable price . Instructors will even teach you the safest way to fall should it happen . If you feel it coming, remember “the grass is your friend .”

Keeping Motivated
• once you’re proficient on your skates and want to challenge yourself further join an inline skating group, a hockey team, or try skating on your own while stick handling a ball or puck .
• Today’s in-line skates are designed to operate very smoothly and efficiently . If you have a high level of fitness, you may not get a true aerobic workout unless you push yourself to increase your speed and the intensity of the exercise . If you find yourself travelling too fast for comfort but still want to work at a high intensity, try purchasing a weighted vest . It will allow you to skate at a more moderate pace while still maintaining the high intensity of the workout . A heart rate monitor will help you determine if you’re skating within your target heart rate zone


You can paddle your way  to fitness with rowing and  canoeing . These are lifetime activities that can be enjoyed  at any age . Many of the people who take part in these activities think of them as fun,  recreational exercises done in nature’s backyard . But it  is also possible to derive an  excellent workout from both .

How to Get Started
• Before you go on the water, strengthen your abdominals  and shoulders and work on increasing your flexibility . Preparing your body before you start will give you a more  enjoyable and beneficial workout .


• To row safely and competently, you need to fully understand the four key components to the basic rowing stroke: the catch, the drive, the finish and the recovery . If you are a new rower, ask a fitness professional at your facility to teach you the basics or seek advice from a club coach .
• To paddle safely and to propel your canoe in the right direction, learn the basic paddling strokes . They include: the forward bow stroke, the bow back stroke, the bow sweep, the Jstroke, the stern rudder and the stern pry & draw . Community colleges and recreation facilities usually offer courses where you can learn these strokes and more . You can also join a canoeing club .
• Indoors or outdoors, rowing is a demanding but very safe activity . It exercises most of the large muscle groups with- 84out stressing the joints .
• Since you’re seated during rowing and recreational canoeing there is no impact on the feet . Therefore, the injury rate for both is relatively low . If you experience lower back
pain, the repetitive twisting of rowing or spinal flexing and extending of rowing may be too stressful for your back .
• When exercising on water always wear a PFD (personal flotation device—a lifejacket) . Many club rowers and paddlers do not wear flotation devices as it impedes movement .
However, coach boats go out on the water to supervise water safety when this is the case .
• Pace yourself . Rowing can be a demanding activity . Monitor your heart rate at regular intervals to be sure you are working comfortably within your target heart rate zone .
• Rowing shorts, although not a necessity, offer slight padding for your seat and make a long workout more comfortable .
• Close fitting, waist-length shirts are less likely to get caught on the rowing monorail or to interfere with your arm movements .
Getting Results
• Rowing is a total-body exercise . Be sure to emphasize the use of the legs for power production . Beginners often focus on pulling mainly with their upper body . However, when you include leg action you can ensure that you are utilizing your aerobic energy system and deriving all the associated benefits .
• Recreational canoeing is not normally considered an aerobic activity because you don’t use the large muscles in the lower body . But if you belong to a canoe club, the technique you will use for war canoe, C-4, C-2 and C-1 boats require you to kneel . This technique involves your legs and buttocks, making it an aerobic activity .
Rowing and canoeing clubs across the country provide non-competitive and competitive programs, so don’t be nervous about joining . Everyone, from youngsters to people over 65, at various fitness levels, enjoy these activities . or you just might like rowing in the comfort of your home in front of your television


Running or jogging—which is simply running at a slower pace —is one of the most effective, time-efficient workouts around . Getting started and sticking with a running program is not difficult once you know what to do and how to do it .


How to Get Started
• Check with your doctor to determine if running is the best exercise for you . If you have heart, orthopedic or other physical concerns, brisk walking may be a better option .
• Wear good quality, proper fitting running shoes . Poorly fitting or worn running shoes can result in shin splints, sore knees and blisters .
• Wear comfortable clothes that will keep you from overheating in summer and warm and dry in winter . Avoid heavy sweat suits that hold perspiration and chafe your thighs as you run . Always protect yourself with a hat and sunglasses on sunny days .
• Run on solid, shock absorbing surfaces . Indoor tracks, asphalt and level dirt surfaces are the best . Avoid solid concrete surfaces such as sidewalks .
• Ensure that there is water available throughout your run . If you run outdoors, invest in a water backpack or waist-belt to comfortably carry your water .
• Be sure that where you run is safe and well lit . Run smart by carrying identification and change for a pay telephone in your pocket or fanny pack in case of an accident or emergency . Joanne always carries taxi fare too, just in case .
• Lean forward, from the hips not the waist, about ten degrees .
• Keep your head level and look straight down the road, not down at your feet .
• Hold your arms at a 90-degree angle and pump them forward and back like a pendulum . Always remember to drive the elbows backward . Arms and hands should remain relaxed .
• Run with a rolling heel-toe motion . Strike the ground with the heel first, roll through the mid-sole onto the ball of the foot, then push off with the toes .
• Keep your shoulders down and relaxed .
• Try not to take strides that are too big, as it can cause you to lose your balance, put undue stress on your joints and make you work harder than you really have to .
Additional Tips
• Take time to warm up and cool down . Plan to run the first and last five minutes at a slow, easy pace . Perform stretches for the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and back musclesafter you cool down (refer to Cool Down in this section) .
• Never increase your mileage by more than 10% per week . Many runners are forced to stop training when they do too much, too soon .
• New runners should expect to feel some mild muscle soreness a day or two after their workouts . If you feel pain during or after your run, take time off and re-evaluate your situation . Follow the table below to ease into a running program that you’ll be able to stick with:

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Don’t skip the skipping if you want to get fit . Skipping is great exercise not only for kids, but adults too . With a little instruction and some practice it’s easy to learn . once only a popular activity among school-age girls and boxers, skipping is now being incorporated into the regimes of exercisers of all types . So get in touch with your inner child, or make like Rocky and skip .


• Skipping is a great aerobic workout . The combined actions of hopping and turning the rope quickly elevate your heart rate into its target heart rate zone .
• It exercises many muscles including the leg

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