“Wait a minute,” you are probably saying right now. “Chris, you have told us to push and challenge ourselves with consistency and even when we don’t feel like working out. And now you are telling us to slow down. What’s up with this?”

As you will read in the following article, I am not suggesting that you slow down on the amount of time you spend working out or that you slow down on the effort you are expending. I am proposing that you slow down your movements for increased benefits. Let me explain.
 
As you will read in the following article, I am not suggesting that you slow down on the amount of time you spend working out or that you slow down on the effort you are expending. I am proposing that you slow down your movements for increased benefits. Let me explain.
 
The more slowly we move during an aerobic workout, the deeper the benefits.

We are a society in a hurry, and many people who attend fitness classes and/or work out on their own translate this hurry-up mentality to their workouts. Yes, I used to love the high impact aerobics. I jumped all over the place to a fast and exciting beat. When my knees started bothering me, I investigated other alternatives. That is when I discovered the beauty of step aerobics. I could get my heart rate up while saving my joints. When we first started step classes, the music played at 122-125 BPM (Beats Per Minute). Today, there are classes where the step music is playing at 135-140 BPM with the participants feeling that they are getting a better workout because they are moving and jumping so fast.
 
Wrong! It actually takes more work to move slowly than using the help received by the bounding. I didn’t believe it either until I noticed the change for the better in my body, along with regaining healthy, pain-free knees. When we are jumping, we are propelled by the jump, so we don’t have to work as hard to lift ourselves up and down. When we are jumping fast we can’t pay attention to the proper form, so we lose out on that score also. It is the same with walking versus jogging. Walking with purpose -swinging those arms and lifting those feet and legs – is as beneficial, if not more, than running and/or jogging.
 
We work those muscles more deeply when we slow down.

Every day at the Fitness Centers where I teach, I see people lifting hand weights and weighted bars, doing abdominal crunches and performing other calisthenics quickly, without any attention given to form. I guess that they are doing better than those who never leave their couch, but not much!
 
Again, the more slowly we lift a weight, do a crunch or a squat or lift a leg, the harder it is and the more the muscles we use work and benefit. Just try this. With your hand weights, do some biceps curls to the count of one to a beat, then slow down to one to the count of four beats, then to the count of eight beats. You will feel the muscle working harder and harder as you slow down. For abdominals, again slow down the count, and while you are up at the top of the movement, hold for at least a count of two.

Stretching also benefits the body when it is slow and deliberate.

I know that I harp on the importance of stretching all of the time. The reason is that stretching is as important – if not more important – than the whole rest of the workout. And, for stretching to be truly effective, it must be slow. Make yourself hold each stretch for at least 11 seconds (30 seconds are even better). Count “one, one thousand” for a second and it will make the time move more quickly, as your body is saying, “Thank you.”

Chris King of Creative Keys is an A.C.E. (American Council on Exercise) Certified Group Fitness Instructor. She teaches twelve classes a week for all ages. She loves her “Portfolio Career” (many careers at the same time). For her Special Reports about fitness visit, http://www.creativekeys.net/specialreports.htm Or if you would like to find out if you could handle and love having a “Portfolio Career” visit http://www.creativekeys.net/portfoliocareertest.htm.

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Categories: Fashion