SportsProf

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Good Home Workout for the Middle-Aged Professional

Well, at least I think it is.

I don't belong to a gym, because there isn't one within 5 minutes of my house. In my view, if a gym is more than 5 minutes from your house, it might as well as be on the moon, especially given the demands on my time. A subset of that statement is that I don't work out in the gym where I work, because, well, I don't need to see people with whom I work in tight UnderArmour and I also don't like working out in the middle of a workday. The reason: I like to have sufficient time to stop sweating and to cool down.

Fine, personal preferences dispensed with, I like to work out in my basement very early in the morning. I'm a morning person, having grown up on a major road where the trucks and buses got me used to awakening pretty early. I also believe that the beginning of the day is yours and yours alone. Tons of stuff could emerge during the day that would make an after-work workout difficult, and from what I've read it's not optimal to work out in the evenings (i.e., too close to bedtime). I'm sure that some of you who read this will dispute me or debate me, but if you do please give better reasons than the ones I've given (read: "I heard it somewhere".) The comment section provides you with the opportunity to go on record.

So what do I do? Well, I'm limited because I have a relatively older house with a low basement ceiling, so an elliptical trainer is out of the question. I have the following available at my disposal: stretching bands, medicine balls of various sizes, the "Perfect Pushup" discs, and a cool Greg LeMond spin bike. I limit myself to an hour five days a week (as well as trying not to eat a wide variety of snacks that provide all sorts of temptation at work and watch the sweets and carbs in general).

I spend about 12 minutes on stretching exercises. Where did I get them? From a friend who's a physical therapist (primarily for lower back and core), from some good Yoga tapes I once watched, and from a book on stretching I bought on Amazon. It's a good way to start the day, and I watch the never-ending loop of the SportsCenter from the night before to keep me company. I finish the stretching with deploying the stretching bands to stretch out my hamstrings.

Then I bike on the spin bike for 20 minutes hard, with about 2.5 minutes for cooling down. I usually pedal in the range of 15-19 miles per hour (with easy resistance), to get my heart rate going and break a good sweat.

After that, I stretch again for about a minute or two, doing Achilles' tendon stretches, shoulder stretches, neck stretches, and then I proceed to do about 25 minutes' worth of exercises with either an 8- or 12-pound medicine ball. You can purchase medicine balls of various sizes and quality from places like Dick's, Omni Fitness and Sports Authority, and you also can find exercises to do on the internet (or in books, and Omni sells a great little booklet on exercises with medicine balls that I would recommend). You do all sorts of hefting (I try to do sets of between 10 and 25 reps, depending on how much time I have), and I do between 8 and 15 different exercises (depending on how much time I have). Most of the exercises focus on strengthening the core.

When I've finished the medicine ball work (and I try to vary my emphasis every now and then), I'm done. (When I take a break from upper-body medicine ball work, I'll work with the Perfect Pushup discs -- they offer a good workout too).

So, you're done in an hour, you can veg for 10 minutes watching the news, and then head to the shower. If you start early enough, you still can be out the door by half past seven if you need to be.

That's my workout.

What's yours?

6 Comments:

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Anonymous Jet-Jill Edmond said...

Having a lean, fit, vibrant body truly changes your life. So, start exercising now even at your own home.

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