One of the biggest challenges anyone faces when they start in on a new fitness regimen is getting the cardiovascular exercise they need. For most men, anyway, getting into the gym to lug a couple heavy weights around is not a problem and it doesn’t take much for getting into a new routine that wayâin fact, when I start people off on a new workout routine, I typically encourage them to begin with just weight training and work in the cardiovascular later. It’s all about building that momentum.
But one thing is certainâcardiovascular exercise does need to enter the picture sooner or later. Not only is it essential for holding off many of the diseases that plague the modern population but the hormones produced are great for your mental and physical being. In fact, upon looking at the fitness problems of most people, I’d say that in the long run, if you had to choose between strength training and cardio training, go with the cardio.
Unfortunately, the way modern exercise routines are set up treat us like that hamster on the wheel, and most people just can’t get up the nerve to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour running to nowhere, surrounded by four walls and with nothing to set their eyes on but a depressing dose of the national news.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way if you learn to look at cardio exercise in a different light. In ground basketball goals offer a great solution. You can set up a basketball court in your front yard and get some of the guys over for a couple nights a week to shoot some hoops, and you can get all the sprinting, lunging, and leaping you need to stay in great shape.
Even if basketball isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other great games and activities that will give you all the healthy exercise you need without spending a day in a boring gym. Swimming, racquetball, tennis, hiking, surfingâuse your imagination and figure out what drives your engine.
I specifically recommend basketball, however, because it is a game I see grown men and women take to over and over again, regardless of their age or lifestyle. There is something about the sport that just draws people in and before you know it, it doesn’t feel like exercise at all.
Not to mention the amazing health benefits in a game like this. Not only do you get those longer runs down the court from goal to goal, but you get a lot of start/stop action, which comes really close to becoming interval training. Then you throw in the strength workout you get leaping and lunging and pushing other players out of your wayâadd in the necessity for hand-eye coordination and you’ve got a casual sport that is great for your body all around.
Basketball is also great because you get teamwork, camaraderie, and a competitive outletânot to mention that it can be played with anywhere from one to 10 people in a game.
The point is that if you look at cardiovascular a little differently, you’ll realize that you can make it a lot more fun and less trying if you bring it back to the basics. Don’t become a hamster on a wheel. Compare in ground basketball goals and get a mini or even full court set up at your house to make it easy to play whenever you want.
Or once again, find a gym nearby with racquetball courts. Find a nice pool where you can go swimming a few nights a week. Keep your cardio fun, and supplement your weight training schedule with a cardio program that influences your life in more ways than one.
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