It’s that time of year again. Summer is right around the corner which means it’s time to whip your body into shape.
If you’re stuck in a rut, there are many ways to switch up your routine and incorporate some extreme fitness routines into your normal workout regimen. We think it's important to share the health benefits of working out with you. And after you're more educated, we'll show you how to incorporate some extreme fitness routines into your next workout. You'll be a fitness guru before you know it.
Exercise and extreme fitness has many health benefits:
- Better sleep. Help you sleep better because exercise regularly improves sleeping patterns, according to studies.
- Radiant skin. Exercise slows down the aging process and reduces the risk of premature death. It improves muscle and skin tone, reduces the risk of age related diseases like osteoporosis and also increases flexibility.
- Tougher immune system. Studies show that working out improves immune function so you can avoid getting sick
- Improves memory. Studies show that walking for a minimum of 45 minutes per week will improve your mental health and sharpness.
If you’re no stranger to exercise and you’re already at a moderate fitness level, extreme fitness could be your next challenge.
To be at a moderate fitness level, physical activity should feel somewhat hard. Your breathing should quicken, but you shouldn’t be out of breath. You should develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity and you should be able to carry on a conversation, but not be able to sing.
Switching to an extreme fitness routine can have some benefits:
It’s easy to stick to what you know, especially if it works for you, but changing around your exercise routine can prevent boredom and avoid or delay reaching a plateau in your workout performance and training results. Adding variety, like extreme fitness, to a workout routine can also help improve adherence.
Ways you can spice up your workout routine
Extreme fitness does not have to be limited to sky diving, surfing or kite boarding. You could take an old workout routine and spice it up a little. There are ways to make mundane activities like running seem more intense.
If you’re a runner, you can make your workout more extreme by running in different intervals of varying speeds. You could try intervals of sprinting followed by intervals of jogging. You could also try running up a hill for a really challenging work out.
Try an interval workout
- Warm Up: On the treadmill, with the incline set at a challenging angle, power walk at a speed of 3-3.5 for 7 minutes, while keeping your elbows up above your heart. Stop, get off the treadmill and stretch.
- Sprint: Drop the incline to 0, i Aim for 90% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring your speed down to 3.0 and walk for one minute. 30 seconds.
- Squats: Get off the treadmill and squat, with your bottom out to the rear and your legs slightly apart. Then jump from the squatting position into the air, landing in the same squat position as before. Do this for one set of 15 or 20, working your quadriceps. If you’re already in good shape, hold dumbbells by your sides.
- Overhead Presses: Do 15 or 20 overhead presses with the weights, pushing them straight up and directly over your shoulders.
- Tricep Extensions: Using dumbbells, do one set of 15 or 20 overhead tricep extensions. Your elbows should point toward the ceiling, with the weights behind your head. Lift the weights directly above your head and back down again.
- Pushups: Do one set of 15 push-ups, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle from the body. Modification: Do the push-ups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.
- Sprint: Now we go back to the treadmill. Sprint for 1 minute, aiming for 70% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, jog for 90 seconds.
- Jumping Jacks: Do one set of 15 or 20 jumping jacks. If you're strong enough, add two 10- or 15-pound dumbbells—lift up the weights when you jump out, in an overhead press position, pulling them back down to shoulder height as your legs go back together.
- Finale: Incline your treadmill to an angle that really challenges you, but DON’T hang onto the treadmill's rails. Walk at a 2.0-3.5 speed for 30 seconds, aiming for 60% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring the treadmill down to a 1.0 incline and drop your speed to 1.9 or 2.0 for a 1 minute walk. Finish by stretching.
Go for a dip in the pool
If you like distance, begin with two 500-yard freestyle swims on intervals of 6.5 minutes. The quicker you finish, the more time you’ll have to rest. Then swim at an easy pace for two minutes.
Follow that with two 400-yard freestyle swims on a 5.5-minute interval and another easy, two-minute swim. Finish with two 300-yard swims on 4.5-minute intervals.