It is very important to have the right FITNESS GEAR for your Cardio Training. That may sound pretty straightforward and it is, to a certain degree. But it also means that you have to know the correct way to set up and use your Fitness Gear to get the best out of it.
I will give you some Tips and Advice on different Cardio activities and their associated equipment. If you require a more detailed instruction on any of these activities, you can click on the accompanying links.
WALKING / FITNESS WALKING:
I know that Walking Exercise is an excellent source of Aerobic fitness. In my time I have Walked thousands of kilometres. I walked regularly for many years, averaging 70-80 kms a week. My pace was approx 6-7 km/hr and I found it relaxing and rewarding.
So after that many footsteps I can tell you that you will definitely need a good quality pair of Walking or Jogging shoes. Get a professional fit from a reputable supplier. Cheap or ill fitting shoes can cause injuries to your ankles, joint stress as well as rubbing and blisters.
The materials used in lower grade shoes wear quickly and can be manufactured poorly, where the stitching can fray and come undone and fall to pieces. Learn from my mistakes.
This tip applies to all Aerobic Exercise. Make sure you carry or can get a supply of clean drinking water, when you are exercising. There are Water Bottle Belts on the market, which are fantastic. You can carry your bottle of course, but some come with pockets for keys or other personal items that you might need. And I can tell you that sometimes there is nothing sweeter that to reach around and be able to get a drink of water when you are exercising.
You can also wear a “Water pack” or “Hydration Pack” on your back. A food grade water bladder that fits into a backpack arrangement, which you wear and a small tube runs from it to the front. As you exercise you can slip the tube into your mouth, bite the valve on the end and suck in a cool drink on the go.
The Correct Apparel makes for essential fitness gear. Wear a good fitting, comfortable hat or cap. Loose fitting clothes so you will not have any rubbing or chaffing (No Jeans).
And always dress appropriately for the weather conditions. If you happen to walk in the early morning or evening a good idea is to have a reflective strip of some kind on your back and shoes so you are seen better by others. Remember, “When you dress correctly, You’ll workout correctly”, no matter the conditions.
Another invaluable piece of fitness gear to have when you are Walking is a PEDOMETER. A Pedometer counts your steps, it can keep track of your distance, and time and some will also count calories used. They are a must have to when Walking to track all of your stats, you can log or journal this info to keep a watch on your progress. It’s a great piece of portable fitness equipment.
An iPod is the best thing ever when you are Walking. To be able to listen to your favourite music on the go is fantastic. Your workouts are more pleasurable and will seem to take no time at all.
Don’t be put off that Walking may not be high intensity. You can always vary any workout with different techniques. Try Power Walking for 1 minute at 4 minute intervals to add some extra effort to your walking. You can blend in a choice of exercises while you are walking, for instance you could walk around a park and perform push-ups at the end of a certain distance or time.
I thoroughly endorse the use of a Heart Rate Monitor, as an essential piece of Fitness Gear. Their use ensures that your training intensity is always easy to track.
REMEMBER, To play with different ideas, the options are yours to vary your Sessions and that will help keep you Enthusiastic.
The Fitness Gear required here is much the same as Walking. A pair of quality Jogging shoes is obviously a necessity. Sized right with excellent impact properties and arch support. I would add that it is essential to wear loose fitting, breathable tops and shorts when Jogging and under garments for both genders should be supportive, comfortable and the correct size.
Ladies should also wear a good quality Sports Bra. Ensure your correct size, as studies have shown that a high proportion of women are actually wearing an incorrect size.
A small bum bag for personal items is a good idea, as having items in pockets can cause chaffing and can be annoying. You can always slip your MP3 Player in there and you will be ready to go.
Is a great form of Cardio Training, and it is vital to have the right Gear. Cycling can vary with types, but you will always require the correct Apparel to suit the conditions, no matter if your choice is Road riding or Mountain Biking.
Regardless of the laws in your area I feel that it is essential to wear a Standards approved, High Quality Helmet, that is the correct fit. You only have one head (I hope) and you have to take care of it. All professionally run Bicycle Outlets in your area will be able to assist you in the right Bike, Helmet and Clothing to suit your choice of riding.
Please take their advice on “Bicycle Sizing” and correct “Seat Height” that suits you. This will ensure a comfortable ride and less stress on your back and joints. Correct Sizing is Very Important. I have seen too many people riding in an incorrect position, on bicycles that are either too small or large and that makes their riding inefficient and exhausting. It places too much stress on the joints, as well as Muscle fatigue.
Don’t jump on some old thing in your back shed and expect to ride regularly. If you try, you will soon lose your enthusiasm. A bicycle has to operate safely and smoothly for you to enjoy the Aerobic Exercise and gain the benefits.
Always ride to the weather conditions and follow all road rules for your area. Be Visible , ride assertively and give other road users signals of your intentions. Let your “Common Sense” rule the day, you will always come off second best vs. a Motor vehicle.
Carry water with you every time you ride! Bicycling makes this an easy thing to do as you can fit Water Bottle Cages to the frame of your bike and carry a multitude of bottles. Or as mentioned you can wear a “Hydration Pack” while you are riding.
If you plan on riding long distances, then all that I have already mentioned will be required to ensure safe and enjoyable riding. I would also recommend that you become familiar with your bicycle. Being able to maintain and repair your bicycle will be of great benefit out on the open road or trail.
Having the knowledge and ability to repair a puncture or a breakdown while you’re out riding will give you peace of mind, knowing that you won’t be stuck. A pre-ride check should always be normal practise.
Another choice with cycling is to fit your bike to a Stationary Indoor Trainer. This is where you ride against a Wind (Fan) or Magnetic Resistance. Depending on the brand of trainer the resistances can be adjusted to give variance to your exercise. These are excellent to ride if the weather conditions are unfavourable or if you are restricted in being able to ride during daylight hours.
I can thoroughly recommend a Stationary Indoor Trainer as I split my cycling sessions between both Outdoor and Indoor during a normal week. I would also advise you to have a towel and fan within reach. You can sweat a lot on an Indoor trainer, you notice it more because there is no wind to cool you as you ride. So I wipe away the sweat with a small towel or if it is really hot, I set up an electric fan, so as I progress through the session and warm up and sweat I can flick a switch a the fan starts and keeps me cooler.
When you think of Swimming Gear you think of swimming trunks or swimwear and a towel. These are the basics and you can get wet with just these. If you are a little more serious about your swimming than that you could also have,
SWIMWEAR. Traditional swimwear (trunks and suits) should be snug but not restrictive. One piece for women should not cut to close under the arm (bikinis are for the beach). Full body competitive suit are worn to keep muscles warm, give better performance over longer periods and creates an efficient body / water surface flow. Adds in buoyancy. Used basically for racing, but training in these suits can be of assistance, but remember they are tight!
A SWIM CAP, will help lessen the drag created by hair. Any body hair will increase drag through the water as you swim. Caps are an excellent way to prevent the rubber from your goggles rubbing or pulling on your hair. They also assist in keeping your goggles in position when you dive. Swim Caps can be made from Latex, Silicone or Nylon. For lengthy training sessions or longer periods in the water, Latex or Silicone caps are best; Nylon caps are good for recreational swimming.
SWIMMING GOGGLES, These need to be comfortable and practical. This will be a bit of trial and error, as different makes will have a slightly different feel. You don’t want to be stopping every lap to adjust your goggles or get the water out. Tip, pay a little extra and get quality both in make and design. Prescription swimming goggles are available, but check with your local supplier in your area.
SWIM FINS, will aid in your propulsion through the water. They put more emphasis on your legs helping to develop strength and endurance. This can also assist with arm technique as the legs are supplying the mass of your movement and thus lets you concentrate more on your arms. All swimming equipment should be of excellent quality as being in a pool environment the majority of the time; your gear is in constant contact with chemicals. As with any footwear (and fins are no different), ensure correct fit to limit injuries like cuts, bruising or blisters.
KICK BOARDS AND PULL BUOYS, these training tools offer the opportunity to build on your strength and endurance. Chances are if you are using these tools you are serious about your swimming. These tools are useful additions to your swim bag.
WATER AEROBICS, offer an excellent environment to exercise. Water aids with buoyancy, meaning that there is less weight bearing on your joints and skeletal structure. I recommend this for the overweight that may find mobility an issue. They might be suffering from forms of Arthritis and joint pain and find traditional Aerobic Exercise distressing due to the impact. There is much in the way of Fitness Gear and accessories available to assist with Exercising in the Water, i.e., Water barbells, dumbbells, paddles and weight belts.
I must emphasis that this equipment must be used under the supervision of a qualified Fitness Professional. Where you will receive the correct Techniques and Encouragement
SKATING, In-line and Ice.
This is an excellent form of Aerobic Exercise and are very enjoyable. It is essential to wear the correct Protective Apparel for safety sake for In-line Skating.
A Standards approved, High Quality Helmet is a must and I would advise the use of Wrist Guards (from experience). Knee and Elbow Pads are another excellent precaution as it is always better to talk about the scratches in your Protective Gear, than crying over the blood and cuts from the fall.
Both forms of skating require correct fitting boots that do not cause blisters or restrict blood flow and numbness. Proper maintenance will ensure longevity of your equipment.
Check laces or buckles for wear, check for any damage to the wheels / bearings (in-line) and straight, sharp, clean blades (ice).
The Fitness Gear required for Aerobic Classes or Exercise in the Home are both the same. As with any activity with repetitive foot impact, a pair of high quality sports shoe is necessary. Most major sport shoe manufacturers have for years have supplied shoes specifically for Aerobics. They should have high impact support, padding and fit firmly but not be restrictive.
Traditionally women are more involved in Aerobic classes and would wear a body hugging tank top with bike shorts or pants. Whatever the style you choose, I recommend a breathable stretch material, Lycra, etc.
For Men I recommend a pair of Lycra shorts (without a padded crotch). Proper fitting firm under garments, with a singlet or tank top (T-shirt).
Have a Water Bottle handy during your class and a small towel to wipe your brow. If you are following an Aerobics Instructional DVD in your home (That’s Great) you might also use an Exercise Mat for some additional padding on the floor and to ensure a non-slip surface. Then you'll have all the Fitness Gear you need.
One other option in Fitness Gear is COMPRESSION CLOTHING. Used for many years by only elite athletes, this relatively new form of Sports Apparel is changing the face of training as we know it. Made from a breathable firm fitting material, the garments have segments that fit tightly over muscle groups and assist in the following,
IMPROVE BLOOD FLOW AND RETURN FROM THE LIMBS.
REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF MUSCLE SORENESS.
IMPROVE BODY TEMPERATURE CONTROL WHILE EXERCISING.
The use for this style of training apparel has spread worldwide in recent times, with major sporting bodies embracing this new technology and endorsing its introduction.
From what I have found not all garments are created equal, some claim the above benefits while others don’t. If you are interested in finding out the benefits for yourself, I would recommend choosing wisely and only purchasing a known and recognized brand.
Please let me repeat, “You should have Water with you when you are participating in any form of Aerobic Exercise”. You have to stay Hydrated. All your body needs is clean Water and plenty of it.
Whatever your choice in AEROBIC EXERCISE there will be a style of FITNESS GEAR to suit your needs and ensure that your WORKOUT SESSIONS are safe, productive and rewarding.
Because, "When you have the Right Gear, it feels Good and you'll Train Better!".