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Making gym time effective for results

Strapped for time in the gym? Ascension Via Christi physical therapist Melissa Warders has these tips for maximizing your time spent working out to get the most benefit.

Incorporate supersets. 

Supersets are where you go from one exercise right into another without resting in between sets. This allows you to get more done in less time and helps to keep your heart rate elevated throughout your strength training workout. When doing full-body strength training, you can do this by alternating between upper and lower body strength-training exercises. For example, you could superset squats and pushups together. During upper or lower body workouts, you can alternate opposing muscle groups, such as doing a chest press followed by a back row. Try to complete 10-15 reps as part of 4-6 sets of duo moves and 2-3 sets of individual exercises, depending on your current fitness level and overall goals.  

Add intervals to your cardio workouts.

Spending less time exercising doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your fitness gains. Research shows that doing interval training, where you alternate periods of high intensity exercise with recovery periods, can help provide greater improvements in fitness than steady-state cardio workouts. Instead of doing cardio workouts where you walk, run, cycle, swim, or use a cardio machine at a steady pace, try adding is some higher intensity intervals a couple times a week. There are many different variations of intervals workouts depending on your fitness goals, but almost everyone can benefit from adding in some type of cardio interval training. 

An interval workout might look like this:  

  • Warm up for 15 minutes.
  • Run for 30 seconds at a nearly all-out effort.
  • Take 2 minutes of active recovery by running at a slower pace or briskly walking, repeat the cycle 5-6 more times.
  • Cool down for 10 minutes.

Listen to music. 

Studies have shown that listening to upbeat music with a tempo that matches what you are doing helps you to work harder with less perceived exertion. For your next workout, instead of just putting in time on a cardio machine while watching a show or reading a book, consider finding some upbeat music to help you really get moving. Today, there are many apps and websites that can help you find music that matches the cadence of your workout.  

Try something new. 

Avoid the temptation of doing the same workouts over and over. With repetition your body becomes more efficient with your exercise routine, leading to a slowdown in further improvements in fitness.  

Consider:

  • Learning new strength-training exercises so that you have lots of options from which to choose.
  • Trying a new sport or activity rather than always jumping on the same piece of cardio equipment.
  • Trying a new exercise class online or at the gym. 

Finally, if pain or injury is keeping you from exercising at your full potential or even from getting started on building a more active lifestyle, consider seeing a physical therapist. Physical therapists can help you resolve musculoskeletal aches and pains and get you started on a fitness plan that will improve your overall health. 

For a 20 minute, no-cost in person physical therapy consultation with one of our experienced physical therapists, call 316-462-7430You can also visit our website to request a no-cost phone consultation to find out whether physical therapy could help you make the most out of your time in the gym. 

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About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.