Get Out & Play to Rev Up Your Workout

Burn Without The Sweat

Swimming provides a great cardiovascular workout without stressing the joints. To maximize your workout, personal trainer Irving Henson advises that you first focus on proper swim technique: “Breath in when you have your head above water and breathe out while you are under water. This way, you don’t lose out on valuable oxygen.”

He adds, “Seventy per cent of successful swimming comes from reduced ‘drag’: only 30 per cent from hand movement. So keep your body as horizontal as possible and wear a swim cap.”

To burn more calories – and have more fun – Irving suggests:
* Adding Resistance – Buoyant ankle cuffs keep your feet afloat, making it harder to paddle. Or, don flippers – they make you move faster, but your legs work harder.
* Internal Training – Swim 10 laps with buoyancy cuffs, then do 10 without. Or, do leg extensions or tricep dips in the water after every lap.
* Building Speed – Swim as many lengths as you can within a certain time, say 20 laps in 20 minutes. The goal is to gradually increase the number of laps you do in the same amount of time.

Lean, Mean Cycling Machine

Cycling gets the heart pumping and sculpts your butt and thighs. Whether you enjoy cycling outdoors or on a stationary bike, make the most of your workout with these simple tips from

Fitness Consultant and aerobic instructor, Bong Asuncion:
* Add Intensity – Increase the revolutions per minute (rpm), cycle uphill, vary speed intervals or change seating positions.
* Workout Plan – Bong suggests this eight-week plan to pump up your ride:

- Weeks 1 & 2 (Twice or thrice a week)

Start a 20-minute routine to let your body adjust to the activity and build endurance. Gradually increase to a 30-minute routine.
- Weeks 3 & 4 (Twice or Thrice a week)
Go for interval training, adding sprints and hills. Alternate one- to two-minute spins with three minutes of paced pedaling. With paced pedaling, you cycle at an intensity that’s high enough to reach your minimum target workout zone (65 per cent). Spin pedaling is similar to sprinting and you should reach the competitive part of your target workout zone (80 per cent). Here’s how to calculate your target heart rate zone:
Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) = 220 – age
Resting Heart Rate (RHR) = Count your pulse for 15 seconds x 15
Target Heart Rate Zone (THR) = (MHR – RHR) x (0.65 to 0.8)
- Weeks 5 &6 (Three to four times a week)
Continue interval training with longer sprints and aim for three- to five-minute spins followed by two-minute paved pedal speed.
- Weeks 7 & 8 (Four to five times a week)
Increase the distance covered within your 30-minute routine.

Walk Your Way Trim

A brisk power walk improves your heart and lung capacity, and tones your body, says Karen Sia, Amore Fitness Corporate Fitness Executive. If you’re already putting in 30 minutes, three to four times a week, great! But to pump up that walk, Karen suggests:
* Arm Work – Punch or swing your arms overhead activity. Do each arm movement for about five minute brisk walks.
* Interval Training – Alternate squats, hops, high-intensity lunges or shuffles with five-minute brisk walks. On a treadmill, select an uphill cross training programme.
* Pace Quickener – If your workout is 30 minutes, time your outward journey at 15 minutes. On your return, aim to reduce the time by walking faster. Karen stresses the importance of stretching: “A good five-minute warm-up before stretching is better than stretching with cold muscles.”

Fire Up Your Body

We’ve all heard about the multiple benefits of yoga. Yoga principal teacher Joan Seow Harakuma stresses the importance of proper hands-on guidance. “The right teacher will be able to show you the right way to move the body, the right methods to do the poses. If done incorrectly, one can easily injure the body.”

* Heat Generators – There are several forms of yoga, like Ashtanga, lyengar and Vinyasa, all part of Hatha yoga. These methods all have different approaches and asana (pose) work. Joan adds, “Assuming one knows the correct methods and poses, it’s possible to link th e poses. By doing so, there’ll be changes to the body, such as creating more heat in the body. Vinyasa and Ashtanga are examples of yoga styles that flow from one pose to another. “These styles help the body “generate heat” – they'll improve blood circulation and strengthen the body.
* Power Poses – For a more intense session, look for a class that incorporates inversions. Adds Joan, “when done correctly, these poses revitalize one’s body system by reversing the effects of gravity and flooding the vital organs and brain with nourishment.” Examples of inverted poses are the Bridge, Plough and Shoulder Stand poses.

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