Ever notice those fanatical-looking people jumping on and off gym equipment? Well, that was me last week.
For Day Three, Rob the Fitness Centre Supervisor at Harry Jerome, introduced me to plyometrics (aka jump training). It’s pretty exhausting because the moves are quick and powerful. It also requires balance—something that must be practiced. I had to concentrate on what I was doing and try to tune out how awkward I felt.
This workout contracts and stretches your muscles and is good training for activities like basketball, volleyball or tennis. To do it right, you need some flexibility to prevent injuries, but if you’re too flexible it might be harmful. Confusing right? All this got us to talking about flexibility, stretching and some misconceptions.
Apparently I’m moderately flexible. When I bend down to touch the floor, I can place my full fingers on the floor, but not my palms. I’ve always been impressed by people who are super flexible (gymnasts blow my mind) and I always believed it was a positive quality.
But being too flexible isn’t necessarily a good thing. Individuals who have an extra range of motion, or who are hypermobile, have an increased risk of injuries, pain and arthritis.
Also, much of our range of motion is genetically determined. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t touch your toes.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of stretching. Among other things, stretching can improve flexibility, decrease risk of injury, and promote blood circulation. Plus it just feels good!
Although opinions differ, many researchers now believe serious stretching before exercising is not a good idea. The best time to stretch is when your muscles are warmed up and less stiff. This bit of news is contrary to what I learned in gym class years ago.
The more intense the workout, the better, right? Nope. To avoid putting too much stress on your body, you shouldn’t exercise at a high intensity too often. The days you’re not hitting the gym, pick an exercise that doesn’t put too much pressure on your body. Walking, cycling and swimming are some good options. Yay!
Plus, most people workout longer than they need to, according to Rob. Your exercise regimen should be efficient and effective. Since finding time to workout is always challenging for me, I’m totally on board with that.
Three weeks in, and Personal Fitness Training Day Three is now over. I worked on some of the same machines as last time, added in a couple new moves and tried a new strength training activity.
And although I’ll clearly never be a basketball player, I’ve learned a lot about the elements of a good fitness routine.
Read Kari's blog posts from her first and second personal training sessions.
North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission offers a wide variety of sports and fitness programs tailored to adults. To find an activity that interests you, visit Find a Program or check out our drop-in schedules.