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What is so important about having a “balanced” workout regimen?  And, what would that entail?  Planning a well-balanced workout routine would include activity specific to the 5 components of physical fitness.

The 5 components of physical fitness

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  1. Muscular Strength: this is a muscle groups ability to produce maximal force against a single contraction. Activities that increase muscular strength include resistance training with weight machines or free weights, calisthenics such as push-ups, pull-ups, dips, sit-ups, etc.…, resistance bands and TRX.  It’s important to get in at least 2 days of muscular strength training to improve muscular strength.
  2. Muscular Endurance: this is your muscles ability to sustain and remain effective through long periods of exercise.  It is muscle specific, meaning, if your training is specific to your arms, it will not increase your leg strength.  Activities specific to muscular strength include marathon running, hiking for a longer distance, long distance swimming, and high repetition weight lifting.  Depending on the sport or activity being trained for, you need rest time to build and repair and it is important you vary the workload. marathon
  3. Cardiovascular Endurance: this is your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles from the heart and lungs, the body’s cardiovascular system. To increase cardiovascular endurance, increase the frequency of cardiovascular activities in your routine.  Activities that increase cardiovascular endurance include hiking, cycling, sports (basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, skiing, tennis), and walking at a rapid pace.
  4. Flexibility: this is the range of motion your joints have. Flexibility keeps your ligaments and muscles limber helping to decrease the risk of injury and even symptoms of arthritis.  To increase flexibility, incorporate yoga, pilates, or a regular “stretching” routine targeting specific muscles and joints.  Never static stretch (holding a stretch) cold.  Dynamic stretches (stretching while moving) should be performed prior to workouts.  Flexibility training is also great for relieving stress.  Our body holds the tension we encounter throughout the day.  Breathing through stretches (as you do in yoga) helps to relieve stress and relax your body.
  5. Body Composition: this is the measure of the body’s percent fat, muscle, water, and bone relative to the whole body. Ideally the aim is to have more muscle and less fat.  Percent body fat guidelines are as follows:
Age Men Women
18-39 8-19% 21-32%
40-59 11-21% 23-33%
60-75 13-24% 24-35%

 

To decrease body fat requires a healthy balance of diet and exercise (incorporating the 5 components).  Resistance training and cardiovascular fitness specifically are great ways to help combat unwanted body fat.

Getting it all in

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In a previous article I mentioned to “think about it as an investment in your health and well-being”.  We spend hours on presentations for work, cooking and cleaning for our family, etc. until everything is just right, but we forget about ourselves.  To enjoy optimal health and wellness it is important that we pay attention to what our body needs to function at its highest level.  Don’t let it overwhelm you.  Creating a workout schedule that works for you does not need to be a struggle.  Plan a couple days of cardiovascular exercise, for example, a 20-30-minute jog, or that amount of time on an elliptical or stepmill, a couple days of a 20-30-minute weight training workout or a boot camp class add in a day or two of yoga or pilates, or pop in a CD or stream a class and do it in the privacy of your home.  Joining a group fitness class is also a great way to keep you motivated and target many, if not, all the components.   Our bodies are like cars, each part serves a purpose and needs paid attention to so that we can get miles and miles out of it.  When our body functions as it should, our minds will respond in a positive, healthful manner!