MakeThisWorkout: Go Beyond Cardio
Stop... wait! Before you rush in and start exercising, first understand what your body is, and begin with a few basic warmups instead of rushing into a hardcore workout. You don’t have to start with investing a lot of money in a personal trainer, you’ll get permanent results if you lay solid foundations for yourself early on, forge a cast-iron routine and build it to last.
Let’s start by looking at cardio, the best way to burn fat - proven scientifically countless times - and normally pretty high on the agenda for most of you gym-goers when it comes to exercise (not that we’re calling you fat).
The problem is, cardio alone will eventually ruin your posture. Fat loss is great but it isn’t free. The repetitive nature of running, x-trainers, rowing and cycling mean that your body will find the easiest mechanical way to perform a task such as exercise, which is bad because increased imbalances in the body not only put you at greater risk of injuries but also chronic aches and pains. No one is perfectly biomechanically, so you’ll favour your stronger side, increasingly so as you fatigue farther into your run, cycle, row etc. and this can have long-term impacts on areas such as your hips, spine, knees and neck.
Take running for example, the act of which naturally leads to a tightening of the hip complex. The hips are the true ‘core’ of the body and once they’re out of line, misalignments exacerbate above and below. Knee pain, various back pains, neck pain - nothing is isolated due to the nature of the body’s mechanical chain, and the hips are often the root cause. This matters because unless addressed, aches and pains stack up and the end result is you can’t run anymore. Age compounds the problem. The odds of piling on the pounds are now slashed.
I’m not all doom and gloom though. The good news is that elemental posture correction is actually really straightforward, at least to get you started anyway. Of course, the following recommendations are not all encompassing (there’s isn’t the space here) but practise three main exercises just one day a week and you’ll cover most of the bases. They are:
1. Squat: Back arched, knees ahead of toes, feet flat.Bending at the hips is crucial for good posture. Arguably the number one core exercise.
2. Deadlift: Back straight, arms outside knees, bar above midfoot throughout. The muscles of the posterior kinetic chain hold the body in the right position. Arguably the number one core exercise.
3. ‘Proper’ abs exercises. The most common abs exercises are actually counter-productive. Smarter, functional moves are required.
To get you on the right path, all you need is to do these three once per week and your body will repay you with a machine that you can use pain-free, day-in day-out to keep the body fat down! Now, anyone fancy a half-marathon?
Jon Robinson is the founder of web-based platform Makethisworkout. For in depth instructions on routines and durations of how to do these exercises properly, as well as information on alleviating pain and improving posture, check out his blog on www.makethisworkout.com.