Aerobic Sports Tips
- Always do your fitness walking in a pair of comfortable, properly fitted walking or running shoes.
- Stretch lightly before and/or during the walk — but save the heavy stretching for immediately after your workout, when your muscles are warm.
- Warm up by walking slowly for five minutes at the start of each workout, to allow your aerobic energy system time to gear up.
- Try to walk at a comfortable speed, without straining.
- Concentrate on a quick, fluid stride, landing on the heel of each foot. Keep your head upright, your hips level, your shoulders relaxed and your arms slightly bent. On your forward armswing, bring your fist up to chest level. On the backswing, your fist should go back no farther than your hip.
- To increase your walking speed, bend your arms 90 degrees at the elbow and pump them faster. The goal is to quicken your stride, rather than lengthen it. This faster style of walking is sometimes called power walking.
- Hand weights are not recommended, because they throw off your natural stride and have little or no effect on your aerobic conditioning.
- If you have arthritis, avoid hills and do not carry any extra weight (knapsack or hand weights).
- Do all lap swimming in a pool with a lifeguard on duty.
- Wear a suit that is comfortable for you.
- To protect your eyes from chlorine, wear goggles that fit snugly around your eyes.
- Warm up with five minutes of slow swimming or water exercises before starting your workout. Afterwards, cool down the same way.
- When sharing a lane with other swimmers, always swim on the right-hand side.
- Begin slowly — four laps and increase a lap a day or as much as you can tolerate.
- If you start to feel tired, break up your workout into sections: Swim a few laps, rest a minute, then swim a few more.
Outdoor Cycling Tips
- Always wear a crash-tested bicycle helmet (sold in any bicycle shop) whenever you ride a bike.
- Be prepared to spend at least $400 for a well-made bike that will serve your needs. If cost is a factor, consider getting a used bicycle. A 12-speed road bike is recommended if you'll be riding on pavement. If you plan to ride often on dirt or unpaved roads, a mountain bike or a hybrid bike (a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike) may be a better choice.
- Buy your bike from an experienced dealer and have it carefully fitted to your body, including seat and handlebar adjustments (when you sit on the seat, your leg should be fully extended at the bottom of the pedaling motion). Bicycle size is important — frame length and tire size affect how it fits you.
- To keep your bike lubricated, oil your wheel hubs once a week.
- Beginning cyclists should pick a quiet area and practice braking, shifting gears and twisting to look over one shoulder (an important safety maneuver) before taking any extended rides.
- As you ride, concentrate on shifting gears to maintain a high pedaling cadence (the number of full revolutions the pedals make per minute). Ideally you should be making 80 to 90 full pedal revolutions per minute. Although this cadence feels very rapid at first, this approach uses much less energy than pedaling more slowly in a higher gear. If you feel your pedal cadence is slowing down, shift to a lower gear until you find one that lets you maintain the desired cadence. Equipment that can be helpful if you want to spend the money is an odometer, which tells you cadence, distance traveled and miles per hour. Also, for the serious cycler a cardiac monitor can be helpful to measure heart rate.
- Before heading out, always be sure that your tires are properly inflated and your brakes and gearshift are working correctly.
- Wear reflective clothing and a bike lamp whenever you ride at night.
- Always ride with traffic on the right side of the road, and yield to all cross traffic.
- When riding with others, always ride in single file, and pass on the left side only, calling out "On your left" as you do.