If you read this blog, you already know I like to mix it up. Boot camps, running, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, the Climbing Wall...you name it, I've probably tried it. I like variety. Jazzercise is my consistent, go-to routine, but even there, I seek out different formats and instructors because it's fun and healthy.
Any exercise program I'm part of has to have these four elements.
- Cardio Yes, intensity is important. If I'm able to sit on a bike at the gym and read a magazine, I'm not working hard enough. I admit to being slightly obsessed with my fitness watch that and I use it to check my heart rate. But you really don't need any equipment at all. The Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale is a way of self-monitoring based on how you feel during exercise. Are you able to carry on a conversation? Are you barely breaking a sweat? Legs starting to shake? The point is, you want to be aware of how your feel and use that to push yourself harder or ease up. Jazzercise uses a "perceived exertion chart" to rate how hard you're working during class - whether you can still talk comfortably or are gasping for breath, for example.
- Strength The temptation is to focus only on cardio but strength training is such an important element in overall fitness. You increase bone density by adding stress so you can avoid osteoporosis. No falling and breaking a hip. And face it, toned muscles look great! You can venture into the weight room or just use your body weight, no special equipment involved. Just do it.
- Flexibility and Balance What's it good for? Reaching up to pull something off of a high shelf. Preventing injury. Stress reduction. Improved circulation. Not falling this winter when it's icy. (See above note about broken hips.) Jazzercise does a good job of incorporating active and static stretching, along with balance moves but I'd like to do even more in this area. Maybe add a weekly yoga class.
- Enjoyment I've learned that if I don't like what I'm doing, I won't do it. End of story. I'm not a fan of treadmills but give me a chasse, a pivot turn and some Latin hips and I'm happy.