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Posts Tagged ‘cardiovascular activities’

Gifts That Keep on Giving

December 23, 2013 Leave a comment

In response to an article in our e-newsletter, The Cooperized, a fan wrote a question.

Our treadmill broke a month ago, and we have been looking for a replacement.  I’m hearing people say get a stair stepper or one of those swinging machines, but not to get a treadmill.  What is the best fitness machine for the home? 

To provide the best response, we called the Director of Fitness of Cooper Fitness Center, DallasMary Edwards, to answer. We thought we would share her insight for anyone considering a new piece of equipment for a gift during the holidays or to jump start the New Year.

Great question! I think the “best machine” for home use is dependent on the person’s needs and goals. Think about the following:

  • Do you have knee or hip issues? If so, you need to purchase a machine that is non-weight bearing, like a recumbent or upright bike or elliptical variation.
  • What do you enjoy? Though that seems simple or trivial, purchase a machine that offers a motion you enjoy. Those that hate to run may find less use for a treadmill, but may enjoy all of the programs that an elliptical can offer.
  • What do you have access to outdoors? In other words, if your neighborhood is well set up for walking and jogging, you may want to consider an elliptical. If it is not possible to walk or run in your area, a treadmill or elliptical purchase would be just fine.

The key to the best exercise machine is one that does not cause you pain. I highly encourage use of a heart rate monitor to determine actual heart rate and thus, exercise intensity. The best adaptations and metabolic stimulus are seen when cardiovascular exercise is consistent throughout the week and incorporates a variety of training: low intensity, long duration; medium intensity or tempo effort; and high intensity interval, short duration. This challenges your whole range of cardiovascular capacity (aerobic to anaerobic), as well as provides great mental stimulation due to the change in workout options/routine.

For those of you wanting to know what equipment we have at Cooper Fitness Center— all of our cardiovascular equipment is Precor®, we are partial!

For other last minute gift ideas see: Fitness Band or Pedometer? What’s on Your List? and Kitchen Gadget Gifts.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas from ours to yours!

Orienteering at Cooper Fitness Center

September 19, 2013 1 comment

If you’re looking for a fun activity for your child’s birthday, their youth group or class team building Orienteering may be the way to go. Cooper Fitness Center Personal Fitness Trainer Shannon Edwards, M.S., leader of the Orienteering programs, gives us an inside look.

Orienteering mixes physical activity, brain power, fun and teamwork to help groups find trust, guidance, communication and encouragement. Orienteering in it’s true sense is a cross country race in which participants use a map and compass to navigate between checkpoints along an unfamiliar course. It is very task oriented and ideal for small groups to compete in teams of five people or less. Group orienteering requires excellent communications skills and group cooperation to efficiently accomplish the mission of course navigation. Whatever obstacles or problems the group may encounter must be overcome and solved with only the use of group communication, compass, and map—which are important skill sets for children to learn early!

At the Cooper Aerobics Center  which is 30 acres, any given orienteering course will cover between 3-5 miles! Kids get a cardiovascular workout that is outdoors, mission based—and fun too.

There are two forms of Orienteering at Cooper Fitness Center:

The Scavenger Hunt is for small groups who will navigate a specific course with a map and compass.

The Blind Navigation requires one group to successfully plot coordinates on a map and relay the correct course navigation to teammates on the course that don’t have the benefit of seeing the map.

Leadership skills, listening skills and critical thinking under pressure are necessary for both styles of orienteering. No matter what style of orienteering you choose, fun is the main ingredient for both.

Cooper Fitness Center hosts orienteering events for church groups, sport teams, girl/boy scout groups, companies, and even youth birthday parties. Click here to see the flyer.

To schedule your group’s Orienteering, please email or call 972.233.4832, ext. 6402.

Aerobic vs. Cardiovascular Exercise

Aerobic ExerciseAerobic exercise or cardiovascular exercise – what’s the difference? You may not know the answer to the question, but it’s simple. They are the same!

As you kick off your cardio routine, it’s important to know if what you’re doing is truly aerobic or not, and which exercises qualify as aerobic. Aerobic exercise must meet three criteria:

  1. It must engage large muscle groups.
  2. It must use lots of oxygen.
  3. It should be something you can do continuously.

When an activity meets all three of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s criteria, it is considered to be an aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. In Dr. Cooper’s book, Aerobics for Total Well-Being, he developed a list primary and secondary aerobic activities.

Primary exercises would exercise such as cross-country skiing, swimming, running, jogging, cycling or walking. Dr. Cooper also documented a list of secondary exercises. They meet the three criteria pretty well, but not quite as well as the primary exercises. For example, circuit weight training would fall into the secondary exercises.

Finding Your Sweet Spot
There are multiple activities you can do to gain cardiovascular benefits. Everyone has their own workout preferences, and you may find that you’re more adherent to an exercise program if you vary what you’re doing. Try switching up your activities throughout the week.

How much aerobic exercise do yo need for health benefits? The Cooper Institute is a proponent of the American College of Sports Medicine‘s recommendation to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity as a minimum for good health. Depending on what your goals are, it will influence you how much exercise you should do.

Remember – more is better, but only to a certain point. It varies from person to person, so there’s not an definitive answer on how much is too much. The sweet spot for optimal health benefits of aerobic activity is in between 150 to 300 minutes per week. Once you go beyond 300 minutes, you may receive additional fitness benefits, but you may not get added health benefits.

What’s your favorite aerobic exercise?