February's Healthy Habits challenge “Get Moving” was one I thought I could just say, “Been there, done that, got the tee shirt.” As a seasoned marathoner, I get plenty of aerobic conditioning with running. But after 8 months of training for a two marathons this season, I needed to switch things up and incorporate more low-impact workouts to save my knees and get out of a running rut.
That meant switching out some run days with swimming and cycling. Swimming stretches your body out and is a great core exercise and upper body workout. Adding a spin class once or twice a week builds leg strength.
That takes care of cardio, but what about the other components of fitness: strength and flexibility? My weekly, hour-long personal trainer session is a total body workout. But time and money-wise, I can’t afford to do it more than once a week. So I looked at the class schedule at my local YMCA to find more “free” options to add variety to my fitness plan. I was excited to see yoga, Pilates, and the hottest thing now, boot camp-style classes. And many have beginner sessions to introduce you to the workout. You’re never too old to try something new because you can modify the intensity.
Over the years, I’ve seen more hard-core athlete friends start varying their routines by substituting their cardio workouts with these classes. The stronger and more flexible you become, you’re less prone to injury and getting burned out. And over time you’ll become a more well rounded "in shape" person. And isn’t that what it’s all about?