So, you’ve been working out for weeks or months and you suddenly feel that your workouts are getting so much easier that you don’t break a sweat as early as you did during the first few weeks. It’s probably time for you to kick it up a notch and increase the intensity of your routines. This should provide a better workout for you by increasing your heart rate or providing more tension to your muscles if you’re lifting weights.
It happens to me quite often. Even after 10 minutes of working out, I barely break a sweat on my forehead alone. So I always decide to push it further and I get a better workout with higher impact and intense routines. Let me share some ways how you can turn your regular exercise routines into high impact exercises.
If you want to increase the intensity of your weight training you can do a couple of things. You can increase the weights you are lifting. Just be sure that you can do at least 5 repetitions and you should struggle on the last rep. Do this if you really want to increase your muscle mass. If you can’t lift it at all then decrease the weight.
Just remember to modify the weight gradually so that your body may be able to adjust easily. Do it 5 pounds at a time. On the other hand, if you just want to have lean muscles, you should just use lighter weights. However, if you want to increase the intensity of the workout, do more repetitions and perform them quickly.
When it comes to aerobics or cardio exercises, there are a lot of things you can do to increase the intensity of your workout. Instead of walking, try running. If you are on a standard running pace of 4 km/h or so, try to sprint. If you’re doing upper body exercises, try to involve your legs. Lunge or move around. Instead of standing in place, try to jump. Increase the duration of your routines between rests. Just remember not to stop immediately. Slow down first until you gradually come to a complete rest.
While you are stretching or doing stationary exercises, there are ways on how to make it high impact. Proper posture is the key here so that you can target and isolate the body part you want to stretch. Make sure you feel the stretch so don’t just extend your arms or legs. Reach further out but do not stay too long or it may hurt you instead.
Just be careful when you’re doing high impact exercises. It will significantly increase your heart rate and it could be dangerous if you push too hard. When I do high impact exercises I usually reach 160 beats per minute. If I go beyond, I just make sure I slow down for a minute or two then take a much needed rest. In line with this, my blood pressure goes up significantly so my doctor always tells me not to work out too much since I have essential hypertension.
Do not forget that in any exercise you do, especially if you’re not used to high impact exercises, if you feel something uncomfortable or painful, discontinue or go back to your regular lower impact routines. Finally, I would suggest that you seek advice from your physician if you want to do high impact exercises. You’ll most likely be asked to do some medical tests to see if you’re fit such as a cardiac stress test.
Dr. Ramon A. Reyes M.D., Internal Medicine – Cardiologist
St. Luke’s Medical Center, Philippines
Chalene Johnson, Personal Trainer