We are bombarded with images of how we are “supposed” to look. Supermarket tabloids rejoice in how some reality TV show star we’ve never heard of has managed to get her bikini body back a mere six weeks after giving birth, and we sigh and try not to look at all the chocolate and chips in our supermarket basket. Tabloids are also fond of displaying the physiques of older celebrities, usually with a blurry paparazzi shot of said celebrity vacationing on a beach with their family, captioned with something along the lines that the celebrity still looks good even though they’re over 50 or over 40. It’s enough to make us mere mortals give up on exercise and curl up into a ball on the sofa and just watch TV for countless hours. Oh, wait… that’s what a lot of us do anyway. Exercise is hard, and while exercise certainly helps with looking good, the health implications are something we should all be mindful of. And so the time comes to join a gym or at least get a little bit physical, and often that involves just going for a run- one foot in front of the other, burning calories all the way. While running is probably the simplest form of cardio, is it the best? Do you sometimes need a little help from a fancy gym machine?
Running is a great way to burn fat, but long, extended jogging sessions aren’t for everyone. With family and working commitments, we can’t all find the time to go for a long regular run, and depending on where you live, it’s not always possible. Jogging in the height of summer or going out in the snow isn’t really the most desirable way to exercise, and the alternative, which is running on a treadmill can be somewhat monotonous. Jogging can be great, but it’s best when combined with other forms of exercise and even other forms of running.
Jogging and Sprinting
Do you remember the sprints that your gym teacher forced you to do at school? It might not have been pleasant, but now that you’re an adult, you’re probably more open to the amazing cardio benefits of this exercise, and also its simplicity and the fact that it can be a quick workout. Choose two opposite points on a field or open area, approximately 350 feet from each other, and simply sprint from one point to the other, with a short pause of no more than a few minutes at each point. Don’t overdo it, and vary the distance and rest times to suit your level of fitness. You may only be able to do this two or three times when you first start, but not to worry- your stamina will improve.
Jogging, Sprinting and the Elliptical Machine
You can also combine jogging and sprinting, and incorporate a short sprint into your jogs, alternating slow running with sprinting. For a more rounded training, it’s a great idea to combine your running with another form of training, and elliptical machines are best for this. Elliptical machines, also known as cross trainers can be found in gyms, but aren’t particularly bulky or complicated, so are one of the few machines that it’s worth buying for yourself. Most elliptical machines simulate climbing, or moving up a graded surface, and are more intensive than simply running up a hill. They also have handles that encourage an upper body workout, something that doesn’t occur so much with simple running.
A multi pronged exercise attack is the best way to burn fat, develop stamina and make your body into a fit, healthy machine. Running, and the variations offered by combining jogging, sprinting and an elliptical machine is a straightforward, no nonsense way to achieve this, and can easily be incorporated into the busiest of schedules. But always, always remember to stretch before (or even after) you run, otherwise the day after exercise you might be too sore to even walk!