Let need rule workout

Last Updated 15 October 2010, 12:50 IST

The ‘why’ of exercise and fitness should determine the ‘how’ of exercise and fitness. This is the underlying principle of future trends. The change in lifestyles, the environment that we live in, the work schedule that we follow, the changes to our health,  provide a changing and dynamic approach to our health.

The days for leisurely exercise are numbered. We now live in a time where we seek to squeeze out maximum results in minimum time. This has been the backbone of recent innovations in technology and exercise design.

The treadmill is a running/walking equipment, primarily designed and manufactured to allow people to run or walk indoors.

Earlier, to increase the social connect of exercising, gyms installed TV screens on treadmills, so that people could watch their favourite programme while jogging. But today, in a virtual exercising world, runners and joggers can connect with each other through interactive TV screens that connect multiple treadmills via the Internet. This allows the participant to either run or walk in a virtual world or to compete against other connected runners anywhere in the world.

The same concept is applicable to stationary cycling, also known as Expresso Cycling. In this, the handle bars on these stationary bikes give real-time feedback on how to enhance performance and improve fitness.

However some of the other virtual games innovated may not necessarily fit the bill of exercise. Never mind if it is too hot to play a game of football outside or if you are not a member of a tennis club. Major corporations have brought tennis, soccer, even golf to your living room.

We know that playing a game of tennis, golf or even soccer out in the open has its advantages. You sweat, move and jump. But is it possible to do all of that by simply holding a remote and swinging in a forehand or backhand? Perhaps not. These virtual games are in fact far from being an exercise and may only serve as a source of entertainment.

Consumers want more in less time. We want the benefits of yoga and the benefits of  pilates without having to work at it consistently. Exercise equipments are being designed to address these needs.

The ‘Boxercise’ programme, ‘Bellyfit programme’, (belly dance) for women, ‘Jumping Ropes’ (skipping) to music where you vary the intensity of your skipping speed and duration to induce physiological changes are a few examples of new routines in exercise.
‘Piloxing’ is another combination exercise programme. It is a combination of pilates and boxing, where movement patterns of pilates are mixed with strength training moves of boxing to provide variety and exercise benefits of pilates and boxing.

The design and development of future  exercise and fitness programmes must be made more functional, especially for beginners.  

There are simple ways in which you can create your own functional routines. Start your day by cleaning your house as quickly and neatly as possible. Challenge yourself to clean the house, mop and dust  in shorter durations. Car cleaning is another activity you can try. A quick cleaning session will make you bend, stand on your toes and move your arms and legs. These activities will raise your heart rate, move your joints and provide ample resistance.

An advice for those getting into an exercise programme — be it any exercise programme - always know what you want from that programme.  

Have one or two very clear objectives. For example, those of you who want to take up bellyfit to improve your figures or confidence, be aware that it can only offer muscle control, toned abdomen, lower back and hips. It will not offer the kind of cardio-vascular benefits a running or walking programme can. Do not get into an exercise programme with unrealistic goals.

Ask your trainer or physiotherapist to outline the objectives of the exercise and match them to your criteria.
The future of your health lies in setting up specific and attainable objectives within a realistic timeline.
Before you get started on an exercise programme, prepare your body for intensity and movement pattern changes; you do not want to injure yourself in the process.

(Published 15 October 2010, 12:50 IST)

Follow us on