Article written

  • on 19.05.2011
  • at 10:45 AM
  • by Jessy Troy

5 Out of the Box Fitness Techniques

May19

When someone decides to get in shape and lose weight they typically join a gym, purchase a home fitness program involving a lot of DVDs and some special equipment or take up a walking routine. There are other ways to stay in shape that are a bit more off the beaten path; few would openly admit to using these techniques but they work and they’re different from the run-of-the-mill methods usually used.

1. Stair Running

Sometimes individuals just don’t have the space to have a treadmill or the inclination to follow along with an exercise DVD workout. It’s hard to say who came up with this idea first but somewhere down the line, someone started running up their stairs as fast as they could and then walking back down carefully so they could sprint back up again. It burns ton of calories and for a long time, no one knew why. New research shows that using intervals during training actually burns way more calories than just running or walking at a steady pace.

How to implement this technique: * You will need stairs, preferably in your house. It’s hard to exercise on stairs in more public areas that other people use but if you don’t mind crazy looks, go for it. Just keep an eye out for other people. * Close fitting pants or shorts are highly recommended; tripping on the stairs isn’t fun.

Never, ever run down the stairs. It can be surprisingly tempting to do so once the momentum is going but resist the urge; running down the stairs risks your neck and is also counterproductive. One of the benefits of interval training on stairs is the fact that no momentum can be harnessed to carry you forward, thus increasing the intensity of the workout.

2. Barefoot Running

Running is a classic habit of fit people everywhere but some people have found a new way to do something so basic; they run without running shoes. They run in what is essentially bare feet. Turns out that running shoes are the source of a lot of the injuries associated with running because the shoes mess with the natural structure of our feet. If you put a pillar under an arch, the integrity of the arch would degrade and it wouldn’t be able to hold weight. The theory is that the arches on human feet are the same.

How to implement: * Since arch support is the enemy here, any shoe that isn’t specifically made for running should be fine. Alternatively, one could construct the running sandals the barefoot running community has embraced called huaraches.

If the feet are used to high tech running shoes make the switch carefully; suddenly placing the burden of your body weight on other parts of the foot can lead to injuries if it’s done before the area has a chance to strengthen up.

3. Breathing

Womens magazines revive this trend every few years. The school of thought is that by doing really intense breathing, one can avoid actually exercising. It’s easy to scoff at this until the statistics are pulled out; the results are hard to argue with. Though not even in the same league as actual exercise, mindful breathing techniques really do yield some positive results.

There are a variety of breathing techniques available but one popular method is to sit, back straight, and inhale through the nose for about 4 seconds; then exhale slowly through pursed lips for 8 seconds. Envision the air inflating your lungs right down to the bottom, which rarely sees use in shallow day-to-day breathing.

4. Dancing With Your Dog

It can be hard to get up the motivation to workout, especially if you’d rather make it a more social event. Many people hate the solitary aspect of fitness but find that coordinating schedules with fitness buddies overcomplicates the process. The solution for many is to take man’s best friend out on a walk or run, but why stop there? Dogs are agile, graceful animals that are quite trainable. Why not add some mental stimulation to the mix and try canine dancing? If you’re imagining dancing cheek to cheek with your Lab during a waltz, think again. It’s not that kind of dance. It’s more of a synchronized set of movements between the human and dog. There are DVDs that can be purchased and it is easily done indoors provided that there is a space inside big enough.

How to implement: * DVDs are recommended since it can be hard to know where to start without a guide * A dog * A love for both the dog and creative movement

This is a great, fun way to get both you and your canine friend active and it’s definitely off the beaten path when it comes to fitness.

5. Jumping

If an individual doesn’t like running or walking, jumping can be a more enjoyable alternative that burns tons of calories and leads to great body tone. For those without access to a full sized trampoline a small indoor rebounder is a worthy substitute. Jumping has been a fad a few times over now but the benefits of the exercise are undeniable. Rebound jumping is great for the lymphatic system and the G-force strengthens the body. At the lowest point during a jump, gravity is 2-3 times heavier than normal, which essentially breaks down to rebound jumping being the most effective and efficient body weight exercise ever concocted by mankind.

How to implement: * Rebound trampoline

The most important factor here is moderation; there is no benefit to jumping on the rebounder for excessive periods of time. A little goes a long way and watch for pain in the joints.

Jenea is a freelance write and expert in the area of weight training and fitness exercises. Although most people would say she is extraordinarly fit woman, she tries not to spend every hour of her day thinking about fitness. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and read up on her newest list of books.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by mikebaird

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