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Create a personalized Circuit Training Workout in 5 easy steps

woman stretching for running in the city wearable watch for measure calories

by Samantha Clayton

Follow this balanced circuit training routine for a great full body workout that gets you the results you want, while limiting the possibility of overuse injuries.

Whatever your focus––be it improving your strength, cardiovascular fitness or endurance––you can benefit from doing weekly circuit training sessions.

Circuit training is a great way for people of all ability levels to exercise. Whether you’re new to exercising or a seasoned pro, you can use circuit training to help you improve your overall fitness level, and target and strengthen your trouble spots.

Circuit training involves performing lots of different exercises in one sequence. This makes it almost impossible to get bored during your session. Plus, because you get to set your own schedule, you can easily fit it into your day. Circuit training is also great because it allows you to squeeze in exercises that you don’t necessarily enjoy. Since you only have to do each move for a short amount of time, getting in some dreaded cardio or strength training work is a lot less daunting.

Here are a few simple tips to help you set up your circuit in a safe way that maximizes your time.

Choose Your Workout Duration

You can do a circuit that’s as long as 60 minutes, or as short as 5 minutes. Decide what amount of time will fit in with your personal schedule, while keeping in mind that the more intense training should be kept to a shorter duration.

Decide on Your Rest Time

You can do a continuous circuit, which is when you go from one exercise to the next without a rest until you have completed one full set. Or you can take a short rest after each exercise. The less rest you have in between exercises, the greater the challenge will be. However, having adequate rest between each full set of exercises is important, as it will allow you to work out at your very best. Base your rest times on your personal fitness level. As your fitness level improves, you will need less rest in between each exercise.

Choose Your Exercises

If you are doing a full-body circuit, try to include exercises that engage your largest muscle groups, such as legs, glutes, chest and back. Also, add in some stability-based moves that involve your core muscles, as well as some cardio. There are so many exercises to choose from, but a few of my favorites include squats, lunges, crunches, burpees, push-ups and jumping jacks.

Exercise Order

The best way to organize your workout is to avoid using the same muscle groups back to back. Alternating between lower body, upper body and core exercises can help you to avoid overworking a particular muscle. When you’re doing a targeted circuit workout and focusing primarily on one area of the body, it’s still important to think about how your joints work and how to avoid over-stressing your body. The shoulder joint, for instance, can become easily stressed out, so avoiding doing exercises like planks, push-ups and mountain climbers all in one set is important. Try to ensure that each exercise that you choose engages your muscles in a different way. When it comes to organizing your routine, common sense will steer you in the right direction.

Number of Exercises

The great thing about circuit training is that you can choose to include as many or as few exercises as you wish. I believe that it’s best to set up a circuit that allows you to repeat it three times. Adequate repetition is important when exercising if you wish to get results. For example, if you have 15 minutes for exercise, choose five exercises that will allow you to do each for 45 seconds, and perform three full sets with adequate time to catch your breath in between sets.

Planning out your own circuit can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. Though it takes a little bit of practice to design your own workouts, when you plan it out in advance and make sure it’s balanced, you’ll be well on your way to becoming your own perfect trainer.

Four Fitness Tips for Healthy Aging

by Samantha Clayton

As you age, daily activity and dedication to balanced nutrition can have a positive effect on your body. Here are a few balanced exercise routines that can help you to get and stay fit for the long term, if you keep at it.

There are many benefits that are associated with living a healthy, active lifestyle. Reduced stress, improved body confidence and improved cardiovascular health are just a few. Regular physical activity is important regardless of your current age and fitness level. It’s never too late to get started with a new exercise routine.

Dedication to living a healthy, active lifestyle as you age can help to counteract aging effects, such as muscle loss, decreased bone density and decreased joint mobility. Yet, many people believe that as we age our need for activity diminishes. The truth is that the older we become the more focus we must put on staying active, so that we can maintain a good quality of life, perform daily tasks and maintain good overall health.

It can be difficult to understand what exercises are appropriate for your current age and level of fitness. Quite often, it’s not until after you get injured that you realize you were performing exercises that were too advanced. I believe that following a balanced and varied exercise routine that slowly progresses as your fitness level and strength improves is the best approach for people of all ages.

Understanding a few basic fitness terms can make a big difference in the way you approach your routine. Here are four modes of fitness that you should consider doing as part of your routine:

Low impact exercise involves movements that place minimal direct force on the body. It’s typically the best type of exercise for people who are just getting started with a fitness plan, or those who have taken time away from exercise. It’s also often recommended for people who have physical limitations due to injury. Examples of low impact exercises include walking, cycling, swimming and using a rowing or elliptical machine.

High impact exercise is any activity that places a direct force on the muscles and joints of the body. It generally involves having two feet off the floor at one time. Jumping, hopping and running are all examples of high impact exercise. Performing this type of exercise is essential for building strong muscles and bones. However, you should be cautious of doing too much too soon, especially if you are new to exercise or have a significant amount of weight to lose. High impact activity places stress on joints, and you should slowly build up to including this type of exercise in your routine.

Low intensity exercise refers to working out at a lower level of exertion. Intensity level and exercise are closely related. When you are exercising at low intensity, you will feel as though you could carry on a conversation and stay within 60-70% of your max heart rate.

High intensity exercise refers to pushing your body to work hard. Exercising at a high intensity has become increasingly popular in the fitness world. This type of training used to be reserved for athletes; however, there are many benefits associated with it, so lots of people incorporate high intensity training into their weekly routine. High intensity training sessions tend to be shorter in duration, making it a practical option for people who want to get results but have limited time available. It’s important for people to check with their health care provider to ensure that they are healthy enough to participate in high intensity exercise.

Mixing up your exercise and combining several types of training into your routine may help you to avoid overuse injury and get the healthy aging benefits you desire.