Jackie Wright – Quality versus quantity of exercise (part 2)
April 2, 2010
Second in a three-part series
Last week we highlighted a number of guidelines emphasizing quality muscular strength/endurance exercise versus quantity. This week the focus will be on pursuing quality cardiovascular endurance exercise versus quantity. As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.
Quality of Exercise Guidelines – Cardiovascular Endurance Exercise
• More isn’t necessarily better. Determine the frequency of cardiovascular endurance exercise that will be necessary to safely/effectively reach your goals. For example, if you run as your primary form of cardiovascular endurance exercise, you may need to run two to three times per week. Too frequently, and you may compromise your body’s structure (i.e. knees/low back/hip/feet) and end up causing injuries which prevent you from running.
Cross training is one effective method of preventing overuse injuries. Activities such as cycling or swimming on off days from running are a good example of cross training. Rest is also critical. Resting means to rest the body so it has time to adequately recover/repair/grow. If you incorporate effective cross training activities combined with adequate rest, your running workouts may become higher quality, yielding more effective, long-term results.
• The form of cardiovascular endurance exercise should be performed in a technically correct manner within the parameters set forth above. A good quality pair of running shoes (if we use running as the form of cardio) that fit well, provide adequate support and are comfortable is the most important piece of equipment you can own. Once you have good quality equipment, then learn what the proper running biomechanics entail.
You can hire a qualified/certified personal trainer or coach to assess your running mechanics and to make suggestions for how to improve the quality of the mechanics. If you begin to experience aches/pains in any joint, or feel repetitive stress in any joint/muscle/ligament/tendon, stop and have the potential injury assessed. Remember, overuse injuries are common in running such as plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis and can lead to chronic issues which may seriously effect the quality of your performance and prevent you from performing your cardiovascular endurance workout.
• Stabilization is crucial to ensure quality, safe and effective cardiovascular endurance exercise. The core muscles must be strong to provide the rest of your body with the stability to safely perform cardiovascular endurance exercise (i.e. run/hike/bike/swim, etc.).
There is an old saying in the fitness industry, which states that if the core is not strong enough to provide adequate stability, the rest of the body, specifically the appendages, may suffer. Therefore, make certain to incorporate core conditioning into your overall exercise program so that your cardiovascular endurance workouts remain high quality.
• Remember the “crawl, walk, run” philosophy and follow it throughout your progression. Master the form of cardiovascular endurance exercise you are performing prior to adding time or intensity. Feel good when you run, and more importantly after you run. We all have limitations. Determine yours and pay attention to those to ensure your cardiovascular endurance program is of the highest quality and safely/effectively addresses your needs.
Next week, we will feature quality versus quantity as it relates to flexibility training.
– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness LLC in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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