Ester Marsh column: Start 2018 off right

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Last week, we talked about starting today and not tomorrow and about adding strength into your workout regimen. To build your workout, you should add each component of fitness into your routines.

There are five components of fitness: cardio, strength, strength endurance, flexibility and body composition. When you work out, you want to include each component. Cardio is an aerobic activity (with oxygen) such as walking, running, swimming, cycling or any aerobic group exercise which is designed to strengthen the heart and lungs. As mentioned in last week’s column, strength is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to contract the muscles which builds the strength and anaerobic (without oxygen) endurance and size of the muscles. Typically, low reps (no more than 10 or 12) and higher weight. Strength endurance is the ability to execute repeated contractions over a period of time. This is aerobic and anaerobic, eventually your muscles will fatigue to a point you have to stop. Lower weight with high repetitions such as 20-30 repetitions.

Flexibility speaks for itself. It is a measure of range of motion around a joint or multiple joints. Flexibility is needed in everyday life such as getting in and out of bed or the car and tying your shoes, for example. You should stretch each main muscle group most days of the week and hold the stretch for 30 seconds or sets such as 2×15 seconds or 3×10 seconds. It’s better to be warm before you work on flexibility. For example, warm up on the treadmill or bike for 10-15 minutes. Stretch so that it there is some discomfort but not pain. Quality of life is considerably enhanced by improving and maintaining a good range of motion in the joints.

Body composition is the body’s relative amount of fat to fat-free mass. You are what you eat. If you eat too much fat or calories, you will carry too much weight.

So when building your workouts, make sure to add in the five components of fitness. It doesn’t have to be done in one workout. (Of course, any fitness professional can help you with this). It can be spread over one or two weeks along with eating and drinking healthy most of the time. So while we are enjoying our Christmas feasts and enjoying our family, get back on your schedule and get ready for the new year and maybe even a new you! The Y is open regular business hours on Tuesday. Merry Christmas from the Rowan County YMCA’s staff to all!

Ester H Marsh, Health and Fitness Director JF Hurley YMCA, ACSM Cpt