How to Choose Resistance Bands for Exercise

Using resistance bands for fitness are a great choice. They are reasonably priced, portable and can be used for strength training as well as stretching exercises.

Incorporating resistance bands into your fitness routine is a great choice, since the level of resistance can be adjusted very easily. Using them means you can change your usual exercise routine to include some different movements than if you were using a machine. The resistance you will experience is different than from working out with free weights, too, and using the bands will help stave off boredom with your fitness routine.

Exercise bands are approximately three feet in length and six inches wide. Some of them look like tubes, and this model will be equipped with handles. Other types of resistance bands look more like a ribbon, and these can be wrapped around a pole or the leg of a chair during use.

Before using resistance bands, examine them carefully to ensure that they are free from tears and holes by holding it up to the light. If you see a worn spot, the band should be replaced immediately.

Getting the Right Exercise Band

Before you can choose the right exercise band, consider how you will be using it. If you are planning to use resistance bands for Pilates, look for one with a flat shape. This style is easier for you to position around your body when working out.

Bands in a tube shape equipped with handles are better suited to strength training. You will want to be able able to get a firm grip on the band while performing resistance exercises.

Another consideration when you want to choose resistance bands for exercise is length. Using a band that is too short will not give you a full range of motion. Buy an exercise band that is within eight inches of your height to give you the maximum benefit.

Most of the bands available on the market are made of latex. People living with latex allergies should shop around to find a non-latex variety.

Level of resistance varies, depending on the band you use. Buying a multi-pack of bands with different resistance levels will help you find the right level for you, and you have the option of using bands with different resistance for different types of exercise. Keep in mind that the thicker the band is, the more resistance it will give you.

Select the Right Exercise Band Resistance

If you will be using exercise bands for the first time, start with one with a 3-6 lb. resistance. Experienced resistance band users who are looking for more challenge can go with a medium resistance one (7 lb. and up). Heavy bands (15 lb. or more) should be reserved for people who have experience with this type of exercise equipment.

Treadmill or Exercise Bike: Which Workout is Best?

Cycling and walking or jogging are all popular forms of exercise and they can be performed by healthy people at any level of fitness. A person who is trying to adopt an active lifestyle to improve overall health can start off slowly and increase the length and intensity of the workout over time.

Choosing to use a treadmill or an exercise bike means that a person who wants to get and stay fit doesn’t have to venture outside to do so. Both of these pieces of exercise equipment provide a number of benefits for users, including improved cardiovascular health, a more positive outlook and lower blood pressure.

Given that both pieces of equipment offer health benefits to users, is one better than the other? A person who is looking for one item for home use may find it difficult to choose one over the other. No solution is going to work for everyone, but by taking a good look at workout style and preferences, an individual can make the right choice.

Exercise Equipment and Motivation

Some people enjoy working out and for them getting physical is something that is an ingrained part of their life that they would miss if they weren’t able to do it. Others need to have the right motivation to help keep them on track; otherwise they start with the best of intentions but are unable to keep going over the long term.

To stick with an exercise program, these individuals need a plan to stave off boredom. In this instance, an excise bike may be a better choice than a treadmill, since it offers more options to the user.

The control panel on the unit can be set to provide the person riding the bike with an experience that mimics riding on a flat piece of road, going up and down hills or other types of terrain. The user can listen to music, play games, watch television or even read while using the bike. For safety reasons, a person using a treadmill is limited to watching TV or listening to music.

Workout Results on Treadmill and Exercise Bike

If a person is comparing a treadmill and exercise bike based on results, the best choice would be the treadmill. People who use a treadmill burn more calories than those who use an exercise bike.

Not everyone wants to use a treadmill over an exercise bike, and this is not the best choice for people who have joint trouble. To avoid injury, a person must concentrate more closely on what he or she is doing while using a treadmill to avoid a slip and fall injury.

When comparing treadmills and exercise bikes, which one is the best choice? A person who is well motivated to work out who wants to get better results in less time would probably be better off with the treadmill. Those who are concerned about getting bored while exercising can get better benefits from using an exercise bike.

Stationary Bikes Offer Another Option for Cardio Fitness

Stationary bikes are a standard piece of exercise equipment that can be found at any gym, along with stair steppers and stepmill machines, free weights and other exercise machines. You may also want to consider buying one for home use, either as a way to work out when you can’t go running or cycling due to poor weather, or as your main piece of workout equipment.

You can choose to use a stationary bike, with no back rest, or a recumbent model that does provide back support. A stationary bike can give you a good cardio workout, which is a form of  heart-healthy exercise. Most models give will allow you to choose from a selection of preset programs.

If you want to get a more intense workout while using a stationary bike, choose a program that increases the resistance on the pedals. Some models require the user to enter his or her target heart rate when starting to use the machine, and the program is selected based on this information. The stationary bike can be used to warm up with before you move on to use the exercise machines or free weights in the gym as well.

A recumbent stationary bike has a back rest, which makes it a very comfortable way to work out. Some people who choose this piece of cardio exercise equipment read a magazine or watch television while on the machine. This is not a good idea if your focus is to improve your heart health. The magazine or TV can prove distracting, and it may be challenging for you to keep your mind on getting your heart rate into your target range while exercising.

These machines also have various programs for you to choose from. To get the best workout, choose an interval program. The resistance will increase as you go up the “hills” in the program, but then as you come “down” again, it will decrease.

Before you start working out with either a stationary or recumbent stationary bike, check the distance to the pedals. They should be positioned at a level so that your legs are almost fully extended. If the pedals are too close, you will not be able to get a full cardio workout; you run the risk of burning out your leg muscles instead.

Climb Your Way to a Great Cardio Workout

When your goal is to get your heart rate up and burn calories, two great choices are the treadclimber and the versa climber. Both of these exercise machines will give you are great workout that will help to strengthen your heart muscle and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Another advantage to getting on a climber or any type of exercise equipment is that it’s a natural stress-buster and antidepressant. If you are having issues with feeling like you have far too many balls in the air and you are expected to juggle all of them or your whole world is in shades of gray and you don’t feel much of anything, get yourself down to the gym and get on one of these machines.

The treadclimber looks like a strange combination of a treadmill and a Stairmaster. Looking at instructions for how to use a treadmill will help you somewhat with this one, but instead of walking or running on a belt that is in a single piece, the treadclimber has two of them. Each one rises and falls as you step on them, which means that you can’t run on the treadclimber, but you can walk at a comfortable rate of speed.

With this piece of exercise equipment, you control how slow or how fast the movement is. If you find that you are moving a bit too quickly, you can adjust your speed to bring the twin treadmills down to a more manageable level. On the flip side, if you feel that you are moving well with the speed as is, you can give your workout a bit more intensity by pushing down on the treadmills harder.

As its name implies, the versa climber requires the user to work against gravity. You would position your feet in the footholds at the base of the machine and hold onto the handles located close to the top. From there, you alternate pushing down with each foot to make a climbing motion.

This particular cardio exercise machine will give you a challenging workout in just a few minutes. If you are looking for something that will get your heartbeat elevated and keep it there, this could be just the piece of machinery you are looking for.

If you decide to include the versa climber in your workout routine, get on the machine for a few minutes and then switch to another option, such as a stationary bike, so that you can continue to get the benefit of working out in this manner.

How Exercise Helps Improve Heart Health

There are definite health benefits to getting up off the couch and getting active. Not only does regular physical exercise help to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, but it also helps to combat high blood pressure and diabetes (the non-insulin-dependent type). Doing an activity that will get your heart beating faster is a great way to relieve stress and it can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Exercising regularly helps to strengthen the heart muscle and makes it more efficient at pumping blood through the body. It also helps by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, in the body.

To get these health benefits, the recommended level of exercise is 20-30 minutes, three or more times each week. Stretching and muscle strengthening activities should also be part of an overall fitness plan, and they should be performed a couple of times per week.

People who haven’t been active for some time may want to start off slowly. Walking or swimming are good choices for former couch potatoes, since they can be done at the participant’s own pace to minimize the chance of injury. As the individual’s level of fitness improves, he or she can increase the intensity of the workout.

Other benefits of exercise include the following:

  • It reduces the risk of premature death, including dying from heart disease.
  • Getting active helps to bring blood pressure down to a more normal level.
  • Exercise helps with weight control.
  • It helps the participant to build lean muscle and burn fat.
  • Physical activity helps seniors to increase their body strength and helps them retain their mobility function without falling.

A person who wants to increase their level of physical activity should start off slowly to avoid injury. Simple things, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and finding a parking space further away from the destination can help to keep to improve heart health.


How to Start an Exercise Program

If it’s been awhile since you exercised regularly, you need to make a plan before jumping into a fitness routine. Being physically active is one of the things you can to to lower your risk of heart disease, but you want to make sure that you are exercising properly to minimize the risk of injury.

Before You Start

Before you sign up for an exercise class or a gym membership, make an appointment to see your doctor first. Discuss your plans for getting fit and the types of exercise you are planning to participate in. Ask whether some types of activities, such as lifting weights are off limits or restricted for you. Once you have the approval of your doctor, you can start your new exercise routine. And find out about heart healthy diet options to help ensure your new routine really works!cardiovascular exercise routine photo

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is better for your heart than stretching or strength training. Regular aerobic activity will strengthen the heart and lungs over time. People who engage in this type of exercise regularly will have a lower blood pressure and respiration rate.

Any activity that gets your heart rate up and keeps it elevated is a good choice. Examples of aerobic exercise include the following:

  • Bicycling
  • Cross-country Skiing
  • Dancing
  • Jogging
  • Jumping Rope
  • Rowing
  • Skating
  • Walking

Start off slowly, and gradually increase the intensity and length of your workouts. You will want to get to the point where you are exercising for 20-30 minutes at a time, three or four times a week. Planning an exercise session every other day can help to keep you on track.

You don’t need to stick with a single aerobic activity to get (and stay) fit. Change up the routine to avoid getting bored or feeling like you are stuck in a rut. Walking is a great choice to start with, since it is easy to do and doesn’t require any special equipment other than a sturdy pair of shoes. As your level of fitness improves, you can start to add other fitness activities into the mix.

How To Stay Active in Colder Months

Now that the weather is starting to get colder, we look forward to spending time indoors. The upcoming Holiday Season means socializing that will include a number of tasty treats. Making a point of staying active throughout the year will help you to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of heart disease.

You still have options for getting exercise, even when the mercury is low. Consider all the outdoor activities that are available in your community. If you have a ski resort nearby, sign up for some lessons. Cross-country skiing, skating, snowshoeing and hiking are other good choices.

If you prefer to exercise indoors, you can still do so during the winter months. To stay motivated, join a gym and book a few sessions with a personal trainer or sign up for an exercise class. That way, you can stay active all year round.

Keep Your Heart Healthy with Regular Exercise

You have probably read or heard that one way to keep your heart healthy is to get regular exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to join a gym. Any activity that raises your heart rate for several minutes will help to improve your overall fitness level.

According to the American Heart Association, adults between the ages of 18-65 should be getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week. You can start off slowly, by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or by parking your car further away from your destination and walking the extra distance.

As your fitness level increases, you can add more vigorous activities and increase the amount of time you are exercising. Mix up your exercise plan with a combination of aerobic and strength training to help shed pounds or maintain your weight.