Burn More Calories with Cardio Exercise Mixed with Legs
How do I run, keep burning calories, and not get fat during the winter months? I know that running is difficult outside due to snow and ice, and staying inside and eating more food is becoming a dangerous habit for many people, but there are options.
As far as getting out of the cold, treadmills, stationary bikes and indoor pools are a big favorite, not only during the winter but year round. Doing 15-30 minutes a day on these indoor machines will keep you in fighting shape during the winter months. But, if you do not have access to am indoor training facility, try jumping rope or jumping jacks to get the heart pumping, and then mix the calisthenics leg exercises listed below for a challenging cardio and resistance training workout.
Exercising your legs is very often overlooked by even the most avid weight lifters and exercisers. Many people simply cannot and should not perform some of the more basic leg exercises like squats and lunges due to knee and lower back injuries. But, that does not mean you have to neglect the pillars of our bodies' foundation. Doing leg workouts not only make your legs stronger and able to support your body better, but you will actually burn more calories in your workouts by incorporating a leg routine.
Since your lower body has the biggest muscles in your body, by exercising the thighs, hamstrings, calves, lower back and glutes (rump), you can actually kick-start your metabolism and burn more calories with the following quick, but challenging leg workouts. You will find that leg workouts also have a cardiovascular element to them. Once again, this is because these muscles require so much more blood, so the heart will beat more to supply new blood to the lower body.
Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Drop your butt back as though sitting in a chair. Concentrate on squeezing your glutes in your upward motion. Keep your heels solid on the ground. Grab some dumbbells to make it more challenging and only do a half squat to place less strain on your knees. An alternate exercise for squats is the leg extension machine.
The lunge is a great leg exercise to develop shape and flexibility. Keep your chest up straight and your stomach tight. Take a long step forward and drop your back knee toward the ground but keep the front shin vertical - do not over extend. Want to make it more of a challenge? Grab some dumbbells. Make it easier on your knees by only going down half way. An alternate exercise for lunges is the leg curl machine. (If you have injured knees - you may want to skip this one.)
These two exercises work the largest muscles of the body - the butt and the legs. By exercising these muscles you will speed up your metabolism and therefore burn more calories throughout the day.
- Warmup bike, walk or run for 5:00
Repeat the following three times:
- Squats- 20 reps
- Lunges - 10 reps/leg
- Bike, jog or walk - 5:00
You will find leg workouts to be challenging and you may be quite sore the following day. Do not neglect your post-exercise stretch routine and you will be much less sore. Do legs 2-3 times a week and rest your legs 2-3 days before another leg workout. On days that you do not do leg calisthenics, try to bike, walk, or run, and stretch well in order to break up the soreness of the leg workout the day before.
P.S. - You will burn at least 200% more calories by adding leg PT to your walk or jog. To see how much body fat is on your frame check out the body fat calculator using the same criteria as the Navy Circumference Test.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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