Tools for your Active Lifestyle

BlogHer Original Post

Can you believe it's already week three in the Inspiration to Fitness Track to 5k? Congratulations on all the progress you've been making! I imagine you have extra pep in your step as you run toward your goals.

Did you miss a workout last week or have a run not go so well? Don't get stuck on that! Setbacks prove that we're up to big things and remind us of why we're working so hard. Revisit the goals we worked on last week and set an intention to accomplish big things this week.

Active Accessories.jpg

Tools to Support an Active Lifestyle

The workouts we've covered require little more than a pair of sneakers, your body weight and a little motivation. Still, tools (some free, some not) can make keeping active a bit more fun, convenient and challenging.

Here are some of my favorite fitness accessories:

- Jump Rope: When is the last time you jumped rope? This childhood game is a great way to get your heart rate up without leaving the driveway.

- GPS Watch: A more steep investment, a GPS watch from Garmin or Polar adds the benefits of technology to your workouts. Track your distance, control your pace and measure your heart rate with one simple tool.

- The Stick: The Stick will work out your muscle knots like nothing else. The sweet pain of rolling out tough knots is worth the loose, run-ready legs you'll get in return.

- SPIBelt: These water-resistant pouches keep your phone, iPod, money and keys safe and in place. Best of all, the SPIBelt doesn't bounce.

- Playground: Play with a purpose. Do push-ups on low steps, use different levels for platform step-ups and use kids as extra weights.

- Group Classes: Yoga, Zumba and various cardio classes can make working out so fun that you forget you're burning calories and getting stronger. Community centers, local gyms and studios often offer free or very affordable classes throughout the week.

- Set of Dumbbells: Five or eight pound dumbbells are the sweet spot for weights to make your basic body weight exercises more challenging. Hold a set of dumbbells overhead for your next set of lunges.

- Compression Sleeves: Zensah compression sleeves have saved me from shin splints over the years. They keep your legs fresh while running or afterward for recovery.

What are your favorite tools for keeping active? Leave them in the comments!

Here are your workouts for this week. We are aiming for two strength workouts and three runs with some light dynamic stretching before runs. You can complete strength workouts on days you don't run or after your run. If anything hurts, back off or take it slowly. These moves should challenge you but should never hurt; modify or substitute exercises as needed.

Stretch

Continue with the stretches from week one and week two. Try out this new one and see how it feels.

Walking Lunges- Step forward with one leg in a long stride. Be sure your knee doesn’t extend over your toes. Lower your body by dropping your back knee toward the ground and opening your hip. Hold the stretch for one count. Maintain an upright posture with hands on hips. Bring back leg forward and step through to repeat movement.

Run

By now you should feel a little stronger on your runs. Hopefully your breathing is a little smoother, your legs a little stronger and your pace a little more comfortable.

This week we will run for two miles or 25 minutes, plus a five minute warm up and five minute cool down.

The same rules apply this week: push yourself to run more and walk less. Thee's no need to get discouraged: you are racing against yourself. If you ran to a certain intersection last week, push yourself to run a little farther this week.

Remember to breathe. Take deep breaths and never hold your breath. Oxygen will fuel you and give you steady endurance to conquer loner distances.

Strength

Strength workout 4: 3 rounds

10 Burpees- Begin in a standing position. Moving quickly, squat and set your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump or step back to a push-up position and roll your body down to the floor starting from your knees until your chest hits the floor. Push back up to a push-up position and step or jump your feet to meet your hands. Leap back to standing while simultaneously jumping in the air as high as possible and clap above your head. Repeat the exercise quickly to elevate your heart rate. Watch this video for a demo.

10 Platform Step-ups (10 reps on each leg) Find a stable platform such as a high step, a sturdy chair or a box at the gym. The higher the surface the more intense your exercise will be. Stand balanced with both feet facing the box (or sturdy surface of choice). Step up with your right foot, driving through the heel and in one controlled movement slowly bring your left leg up to join your right leg. Stand tall and quickly step down with your left leg first. Repeat full set on one leg before moving to the next. To make movement more challenging, bring left knee up toward chest and step back down without touching left foot to the box.

10 Reverse Crunch- Lie on the floor and place hands behind your head. Lift legs and bend knees to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling. Draw knees in toward chest and hold for three seconds. Controlling your movement, slowly use your core to lower your legs to starting position.

Strength workout 5: 3 rounds

10 Push-ups Place your toes and hands on the floor, making sure your back and arms are straight. Keep your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and tighten your abdominal muscles. Slowly lower yourself so you brush your body against the floor. Don't lock your elbows, and don't bend your back. Push yourself away from the floor to return to starting position. If necessary, modify with knees on the floor and aligned with hips and feet off the floor.

10 Air squats- Stand with feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Keep your heels down, chest high, weight in heels and maintain a slight lumbar curve in your back. Bend knees until your thighs are just below parallel to the ground. Don't let your knees fall inward or go past your toes. Straighten your legs to return to starting position.

10 Bicycle Crunches- Begin by lying on your back, placing your hands lightly behind your head. Bend your knees to a 90 degree angle with thighs parallel to floor. Move your legs in a bicycle motion. Match knee to opposite elbow and switch.

"Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity." - Michael Johnson

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