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September 22, 2011

Kettlebells, Boot Camp, Kick Boxing: What’s Best?

Man, Woman and KickboxingKettlebells, Boot Camp, and Kickboxing

What’s best? Kettlebells? Boot camp? Kickboxing? There has been an explosion in the exercise market, we watch the biggest loser, see endless infomercials all promising to have the best exercise technique and it  leaves us confused. When you  explore the  exercise programs at your local gym you become overwhelmed, and don’t really know which one is best and what the benefits are. Here at livelongstayyoung.com we believe the golden rule is not what you are doing, but that you are doing. No matter what it takes to get you to the gym 3-5 times a week, get there. You may try several different exercise disciplines and realize you have a passion for kick boxing or pilates, Nike was right – Just Do It!

I will break down some of the more common exercise techniques, explain the rational behind them and the benefits. This is not a complete guide but should be a good start and give you some comfort when making a decision . Many people will use multiple disciplines to keep their exercising from getting boring.

Kettlebells

This not a new form of exercise, kettlebells look a lot like a cannon ball with a handle. These have gained popularity in the US in the last few years. Kettlebell exercises involve movements that are explosive and combines strength, flexibility and cardiovascular benefits. The bells come in different weights to accommodate different movements and skill levels, starting as low as 4 lbs.upto over 150 lbs. The movement is a swinging explosive one,  building strength in the shoulders, back, and legs.

Beware if you have a history of back or shoulder problems.

Kickboxing

Also known as cardio kickboxing, sounds a little intimidating but relax this is noncontact. It is  high intensity and high impact.  If you haven’t been doing anything in the way of exercise you may want to start with a lower intensity and impact aerobics class and graduate to this. Just as it sounds kickboxing combines boxing, martial arts and aerobics to build strength toning and endurance. The classes start with a warm up and then move right into 30 minutes of rather intense training followed by a cooling down period. This maybe one that you will want to go and observe first to see if it is something you will be comfortable doing. Talk with the instructor to make sure they can accommodate a beginner and to check on their credentialing .

Fitness Boot Camp

Heres one that sounds tough and it is, but boot camp classes are growing in popularity across the country. The classes combine interval training, traditional aerobics and weight lifting. There is a much more collegiate atmosphere in these classes and attendees make friends and hold each other accountable. There are different styles some using kettlebells, boxing or kickboxing techniques or weight training and many combine all. This combination keeps the members from the boredom that many associate with traditional weight lifting. A great fun but hard way to get in shape and make continued improvements. That’s why it is called boot camp.

Resistance Bands

Strength training with a different approach, no longer is it necessary to buy expensive weights or join a gym. These bands come in a variety of resistance levels adequate for a beginner or a seasoned weight lifter. There is a definite learning curve and they take a little getting used to but they do have a lot of plusses. They are inexpensive, they are easy to use while travelling and they are useful to all fitness levels. Great way to add variety to your workout and to  ensure to never miss a workout when travelling.

Pilates

An extremely popular form of exercise developed in Germany in the 20th century. Another name for this is contrology because of the intense focus and concentration needed to perform this exercise format correctly. The benefits are increased flexibility, strength, endurance and over all conditioning. Pilates is continuing to grow in popularity and accommodates all fitness levels, there are advanced classes but we recommend starting with a basic class and once mastered proceeding to the next level.

Yoga

There are many forms of yoga being offered in gyms.  You need to find one you are comfortable with and jump in. Yoga requires very little equipment and is available to all. Yoga’s benefits include body toning, improved mental fitness, cardiovascular benefits and a n increase in flexibility. Yoga has grown from the more traditional mental moves to now being available as a power workout as well. Check your local gym and see what they have to offer, don’t feel that you need to last the  whole class, your fitness will improve with time and soon you will be lasting through 45 minute classes.

Spinning

Spinning classes are a great way to stay in shape no matter what the weather outside is like and few if anyone has ever been hit by a car while spinning. The classes are high intensity with loud music and an instructor barking orders to the participants. The routines change from class to class, hills, speed,change in resistance and cool downs. The duration is usually 45 minutes to and hour and I can assure you will burn some fat in these babies. The draw backs are you are in an enclosed room, the seat hurts and the music is loud. The pros are great fat burning exercise, safe, fun (with time) open to all fitness levels.

Acceleration

I have personal experience with most of the forms of exercise mentioned and this one is no different. Acceleration is a patented form of high intensity interval training that leaves even elite athletes spent. At the urging of my much younger bride I enrolled in this  4-6 weeks class. On the first day I was surprised when the other 5 people were all high school and college athletes. That should have been my clue that I was over my head but I persevered and made it the whole 6 weeks. I didn’t run as fast but I got my shirt for finishing the class and was one of the few that didn’t throw up during the training. Save this for the most fit and use it as a goal to complete once you think you are fit.

Part two to follow

Next we will elaborate on other forms of exercise and discuss the benefits. Remember one thing – pick a form of exercise that you are comfortable with and then “Just DO IT”!

See related articles.

“Calisthenis for Fitness”

“Kettlebell Beginner Workout”

“Get Fit with Body Bar Exercises”

 

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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