Everything You Need to Know About Cardio

Praised by many as the holy grail of fitness, you’ve probably heard a lot about cardio workouts, and may even be interested in trying them for yourself. As with any workout, though, cardio comes with several unique considerations. So it’s good to be informed before you get started. To help you out, we’ve put together a few of the basics, including the benefits of cardio. How to make a schedule, what workouts to try, and how to do all of this as safely as possible.

What Is Cardio?

Cardio covers a broad umbrella of exercises, generally including any workout designed to get your heart rate up. Your heart is a muscle just like any other, which means that it gets stronger when it’s engaged, and weaker when it’s not. You engage your heart by performing rigorous, fast-paced exercises. Because your body needs more oxygen to keep up. Your heart has to work harder to pump enough blood. Over time, challenging it like this will help it grow stronger.

Benefits of Cardio

It’s hard to find a fitness enthusiast who doesn’t sing praises of cardio, and that’s for very good reason. Cardiovascular exercises known for a wide range of benefits, from better fitness in general to a reduced risk of conditions like heart disease and diabetes. It’s one of the most effective ways to melt away fat. When combined with strength exercises and a healthy diet, forms the foundation of a healthier lifestyle in general. If you’re looking to make a major lifestyle change, cardio is one of the best places to start.

How Often Should I Do Cardio?

Young athletic woman doing cardio exercise in gym

As with any exercise, it’s best to start small with your cardio exercises. Most popular cardio gym workouts are very high-impact. So doing cardio every day right from the get-go opens you up to any number of injuries. Kick your new workout routine off with 2-3 cardio sessions every week, and take time to recover in between. Once you’ve become more experienced and started developing stronger muscles, you can begin doing cardio more frequently. However, we’d like to caution against going over 5 cardio days a week. No matter how experienced you are, your body still needs time to rest. So those two rest days are still important.

Once you’ve got the details of your cardio schedule hammered out, figure out how long you want each workout to be. All of your cardio workouts should last for at least 20-30 minutes, but if you’re doing high-impact cardio, they probably shouldn’t last more than an hour. While you can benefit from the calorie-burning properties of cardio no matter your workout length, your heart will only experience definite growth if your workouts are long enough. On the other hand, working out for too long opens you up to muscle injuries from overexertion. Finding the right workout length is all about balance, so do a bit of experimenting and figure out what works best for you.

Best Cardio Workouts

Young happy sportswoman running on the road in the morning

Cardio covers such a wide variety of exercises that you’re practically guaranteed to find some form of cardio you enjoy. One of the most common cardio workouts is running, but we understand that that’s not for everyone. Though you’ll have to work out for longer, less strenuous exercises like walking are just as viable of an option. There’s also cycling, which you can adjust the intensity of by taking on easier or more challenging bike trails. As long as you’re willing to look, you can find a workout that suits your tastes, needs, and skill level, so it’s worth trying a few to see which works best.

Important Safety Tips

Young women doing cardio exercise on stationary cycle in gym

As mentioned earlier, be sure you’re resting up in between workouts. As you work out, your muscles become fatigued, and they need time to mend themselves. Neglecting to do so increases your risk of injuries, not to mention the fact that your workouts simply won’t be as effective. Denying your muscles rest is a lot like denying your body sleep. In both cases, you’re more likely to make mistakes and have accidents, and even if neither of those things happens, you still won’t be at your best.

In addition to regular rest, be sure to pay attention to what your body is telling you during your exercises. Workouts supposed to hurt. As they say, no pain, no gain. What you need to ensure, though, is that you’re feeling the right pain. If you start feeling any new pains that seem unusual or alarming, stop working out and take it easy for the rest of the day. If that pain persists in future workouts, go visit your doctor. Trying to power through it could lead to a serious injury that puts you out of commission for a while. 

This also applies to health notifications from your smartwatch or fitness tracker. If you have an abnormal pulse, blood pressure, or falling blood oxygen, it could be indicative of a significant issue. In general, just be careful and conscious of your health. As long as you keep both of these safety tips in mind, though, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of cardio for a better, healthier life.

Looking for more great personal fitness tips, tricks, and products? Feel free to visit us at NineFit today!

Using Different Weight Training Equipment for Gym

Entering a gym can often feel like stepping into a challenging new landscape, especially when it comes to weight training equipment. From dumbbells to kettlebells, barbells to resistance bands, the options can be overwhelming for beginners. However, each piece of equipment offers unique benefits and can target different muscle groups to help you achieve a well-rounded workout routine. 

In this article, we’ll explore the diverse array of weight-room equipment available in most gyms and how to effectively incorporate them into your fitness plan.

Dumbbells

Woman doing exercise using dumbbells

Dumbbells are a staple in any gym in terms of exercise weights, and for good reason. They offer versatility and are excellent for both compound and isolation exercises. With dumbbells, you can perform exercises such as bicep curls, shoulder presses, lunges, and chest flies. Start with lighter weights to master your form, then gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable.

Due to their versatility and compact design, dumbbells make both great items to use as home workout equipment and traditional gym gear.

Barbells

Barbells are another fundamental piece of weight training equipment, as they allow users to take part in heavy lifting and compound routines. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and rows can all be done by using a barbell. Proper form is crucial when using barbells to prevent injury, so don’t hesitate to ask a fitness professional for guidance if you’re relatively new to using this type of gym equipment.

Additionally, if you plan to lift a significant amount of weight during barbell training, make sure that you’re wearing the right weight-lifting gear, such as a support belt or gloves that will protect the palms of your hands.

Kettlebells

Woman doing exercise with Kettlebells

Kettlebells have become a popular piece of weightroom equipment due to their ability to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously while also improving cardiovascular fitness. Swings, cleans, snatches, and Turkish get-ups are just a few examples of kettlebell exercises that can elevate your workout routine and challenge your strength and stability.

Because kettlebell exercises can be somewhat fast-paced, be sure to keep your grip firm when using this type of equipment. This way, you can actively prevent dropping your kettlebells or becoming injured during your workout.

Cable Machines

Cable machines provide weightlifters with constant tension throughout the entire range of motion, which makes them ideal for building muscle mass and improving muscular endurance. They provide a wide range of exercise options, including cable rows, chest flies, triceps pushdowns, and cable curls. When using these strength machines, be sure to properly adjust the weight and attachments to target different muscle groups effectively.

There are many ways to use a cable machine, so you can reasonably count on using this piece of equipment to improve your fitness and strength throughout your entire body. Just make sure that you’re using each attachment properly in order to maintain a safe workout experience.

Resistance Bands

Woman doing exercise with resistance bands

Resistance bands are lightweight, portable, and perfect for adding resistance to bodyweight exercises or traditional weightlifting movements. They’re an excellent piece of strength training equipment for targeting smaller stabilizing muscles and can use for a variety of exercises. Common resistance band training exercises include banded squats, rows, lateral walks, and shoulder raises. Plus, they’re great for stretching and mobility work as well.

Resistance bands can come in a variety of strengths. So they’re ideal for weightlifters of different experience levels. Whether you want just a bit of extra resistance or a significant challenge to your lifting routine.

Medicine Balls

Woman doing exercise with medicine ball

Medicine balls are versatile tools that can be used for strength, power, and coordination training. Exercises like medicine ball slams, throws, twists, and overhead presses can help improve functional strength and explosive power. They’re also great for adding variety and intensity to your workout routine.

Much like gym weight lifting exercises that use kettlebells, exercising with medicine balls can be quite fast-paced. As such, it’s important to maintain focus and keep your grip strong. In order to avoid dropping the weights or becoming injured during your workout. Should you need help perfecting your form at the gym? don’t hesitate to ask a weightlifting professional for advice or assistance.

Incorporating a variety of weight training equipment into your gym sessions can help you avoid plateaus. It also helps to prevent boredom, and achieve your fitness goals more efficiently. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned weight lifter, experimenting with different equipment can challenge your body in new ways. Keep your workouts exciting and engaging. Remember to prioritize proper form, listen to your body. Gradually progress the intensity of your workouts to ensure continued growth and success on your fitness journey.

Take it slow, and always follow gym safety guidelines to continuously enjoy the best workout sessions possible. 

Common Beginner Backpacking Mistakes To Avoid This Season

Going backpacking for the first time can be an exhilarating adventure. One that offers the promise of beautiful landscapes, memorable encounters, and a break from your everyday routine. However, even the most seasoned backpacker can fall victim to avoidable errors that can turn a dream trip into a nightmare. If you’re relatively new to the practice of backpacking, it’s important to start your trek on the right foot. 
In this article, we’ll go over a few common backpacking mistakes you’ll want to avoid so that you can have the best possible experience.

Check out these backpacking tips for beginners before you plan for your first hike and avoid backpacking mistakes.

Overpacking or Under packing Your Hiking Backpack

Backpacking mistakes

Knowing what to pack is one of the most important hiking essentials for beginners and experienced hikers alike. One of the cardinal sins of backpacking is carrying too much weight. Because every extra ounce adds up. Carrying too many items is going to make your trek more exhausting and less enjoyable. Before you step out onto the trail, carefully examine your gear list and do your best to eliminate items that you truly don’t need. Try to opt for backpacking light with the lightest backpacking gear and be sure to prioritize functionality over luxury.

Keep in mind, though, you don’t want to under pack your gear in an attempt to travel light. Make sure you have all of the essentials you need for a safe trip.

Not Packing Enough Food and Water

Ultralight backpacking can be ideal for beginners, as carrying less weight will lead to less fatigue while you’re on the trail. However, it’s important to ensure that you carry enough food and water with you on every hike you embark upon. Even if you’re only planning to be out for a short time. You should carry at least a day’s worth of food and water. The average number of calories a backpacker needs ranges from 2,500 to 4,500 per day so make sure you have enough to eat. When it comes to water, you should carry between 2 and 4 liters with you at any given time.

Counting on Improper Footwear

Traveler tightening the shoe laces

A common beginner hiking and backpacking mistakes involve wearing the wrong sort of footwear throughout the journey. An ordinary pair of tennis shoes likely won’t cut it. If you’re going to be spending hours or days exploring the trails. You’ll want to invest in a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots or shoes for the best possible backpacking experience. Don’t wait until your trip to wear your new shoes for the first time, though. It’s a good idea to spend time before your hike breaking in your footwear. This way, your shoes will be comfortable on your feet while you’re walking.

Failing to Test Out Your Gear

If you’re planning to go backpacking for the first time, it’s important to be familiar with each piece of gear you’ll be using. As such, you should test out your gear long before you need to use it. This way, you can ensure that everything you’re bringing with you is going to be useful. For example, you’ll want to determine whether your backpacking sleeping bag is warm enough for your needs and easy enough to pack and unpack as needed.

Whether you’re buying a backpack online or at a physical store. You’ll want to test it out to make sure it can reasonably fit all of your gear into it. Standard backpack sizes can vary. So be sure to choose one that’s going to meet your needs. Furthermore, make sure that you select a backpack for traveling. As a standard school backpack is not going to meet your needs as well as a product made for your intended purpose.

Being Unprepared for an Emergency

First Aid kit

No one wants to encounter an emergency during a backpacking trip. But failing to prepare for the unexpected can result in dire consequences. Every time you set out on a backpacking trip, it’s crucial to carry with you a well-stocked first aid kit in your travel backpack.

Familiarize yourself with each piece of the kit and know how to use its contents before you ever need to. Take time to learn about basic wilderness first aid techniques and always be ready for worst-case scenarios including injuries, sudden weather changes, and getting lost.

When it comes to storing your first aid kit during your trek, make sure that it’s always easily accessible in or on your backpack. Seconds count during an emergency. The last thing you want to do is rummage through your belongings when you don’t have time to waste.

Embarking on a backpacking trip can be a transformative experience, offering you the opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and create lasting memories with your friends or family. By avoiding these common backpacking mistakes, you can ensure a safer, more enjoyable journey on the trail. Remember to plan meticulously, stay informed, and respect the wilderness, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful adventure.

Calorie Burning: Which Exercises Burn the Most Calories?

One of the most important parts of getting in shape is figuring out how to efficiently burn calories and shed those extra pounds. What works is a little bit different for everyone, but there are a few exercises that are more or less universally good for fat/ calorie burning. Let’s take a look at a few of these exercises, their benefits, and why you should consider doing them.

Running

Sure, it’s tough to get started with a running routine, but once you do, it’s one of the best fat-burning exercises out there. Most experts agree that you burn about 100 calories per mile. That means a quick 30-minute cardio workout can burn around 300 calories once you’ve started getting into shape. If you’re just starting out, we recommend that you run for 30 minutes 2-3 times a week. This will give your body time to recover, reducing your risk of injury. Over time, you can ramp up the number of runs you go on per week, as well as the distance covered.

Walking

Couple walking to burn the calories

While the number of calories burned walking isn’t quite as high, there is something to be said for just going on a quick stroll. Walking is significantly lower-impact than running, so it can be done much more often and isn’t as hard on your knees. Similar to running, we recommend walking for at least 30 minutes to see results, but rather than 2-3 times a week, you can do so every day. Combine this with a few other light exercises, and you’ll have a solid fat-burning routine without any extremely strenuous activities.

Indoor Jump Rope

Indoor jump rope exercises are some of the most convenient on this list, and burn off calories with astonishing speed. Whenever you have a bit of spare time, all you need is a jump rope for a full-body cardio workout. Do keep in mind, though, that the repeated motion is fairly hard on your knees and other joints. If you have any conditions or prior injuries in those areas, this may not be the workout for you, but otherwise, don’t hesitate to give it a shot!

Hiking

A couple hiking

Hiking is a personal favorite of ours, and for good reason. Aside from the quiet peace and gorgeous scenery of the great outdoors, hiking comes with a whole host of benefits. It has elements of both cardio exercises and endurance training. Navigating the tricky terrain gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping, while carrying a heavy hiking backpack buffs up your back and shoulder muscles. 

Before setting out on a hike, though, be sure to take some basic precautions. Let people know where you’re going and when you expect to return, pack plenty of food and water, and remember to keep a first aid kit handy. Once you’ve got the preparation out of the way, though, just have fun relaxing, immerse yourself in nature, and burn some calories while you’re at it!

Swimming

Swimming is a surprisingly effective full-body cardio workout. Because you’re far floatier in water than open air. It has very little, if any impact on your joints and muscles. Plus, the high resistance that comes with moving through water exercises just about every part of your body, forcing your heart to beat faster to keep up. As such, swimming regularly does wonders for your muscles and endurance while rapidly burning calories.

Playing Sports

Woman playing tennis for calorie burning

Sports are another highly versatile option for calorie burning . With so many sports to choose from, you’re sure to find something you like doing. High-impact sports like basketball, football, and volleyball are great for this. As the constant movement ensures your heart rate gets up and stays up. Lower-impact sports like cycling or golf (without a cart, of course) won’t burn calories quite as quickly. But they get you outside and moving, which is a valuable thing in and of itself. As with any other type of workout, it’s all about finding what works best for you. So don’t be afraid to experiment with it a bit.

Yoga

At first glance, yoga doesn’t seem like much of a calorie burning exercise. After all, it’s so slow and methodical compared to some of the other entries in this list. How could it possibly keep up? You’d be surprised. Though yoga is typically thought of as a series of gentle stretches. Power yoga is far more active, and can burn as much as 600 calories an hour according to some estimates. Yoga is much more fun when done as a social activity. So grab your mat and a pair of comfy yoga pants, and go sign up for a class at your local gym!

Looking for more great fitness tips, tricks, and products to stay in tip-top shape? Feel free to visit our site at NineFit today!

10 Helpful Tips for Mountain Biking Beginners

Mountain biking is a favorite hobby for many, and not without reason. From the stunning views to the thrill of racing through a mountain trail, it’s no wonder such a large community has formed around the activity. If you’re interested in it yourself, be sure to do your research beforehand! There’s a lot that goes into having a fun and safe mountain biking experience, and it’s important to know and understand each of those factors. To get you started, we’ve put together ten of our favorite beginner tips!

1. Learn General and Local Trail Etiquette

Mountain biking trail etiquette is essential knowledge for any beginner cyclist. By knowing, understanding, and applying it, you create a safer and more enjoyable experience for not just yourself, but your fellow cyclists as well.

2. Yield to Wildlife

Man taking photo

While you know and understand trail etiquette, the local wildlife does not. Because of this, it’s important to pay attention to what the wildlife is doing, and to stay a fair distance away from them. While there’s nothing wrong with getting a little bit closer to snap a photo, you shouldn’t get close enough to make any sort of contact with them, give them food, or anything else of the sort. Snap your photo, wait for them to finish crossing the road, and then go on your way with a memorable wildlife experience under your belt.

3. Purchase Tougher Safety Equipment

Before you set out on your first adventure, invest in some stronger safety gear and special mountain bike clothing. While your standard bike helmet is all the safety equipment you need for a ride through the city, mountain biking comes with a few unique hazards. You’ll want a helmet that’s rated for much heavier impacts, as well as some knee and elbow pads. 

4. Ensure Your Bike is up to the Task

Man is biking mountain

Mountain biking is hard on not just the cyclist, but their bike as well. If you’re planning to go mountain biking, you need to make sure your bike is equipped to handle the trail you want to take. Your standard city bike, for example, isn’t nearly rugged enough to handle a rugged nature trail, so we’d recommend investing in a beginner mountain bike if you don’t already have one. In addition, be sure to pick up some mountain bike tires that’ll be able to withstand the rough-and-tumble trails you plan to explore.

5. Maintain Your Bike

When you’re out bike riding in the mountains, the last thing you want is for your trusty trek mountain bike to break on you. Before setting out, be sure the chains are greased, the tires are inflated, and all the screws are as tight as they need to be. For some extra insurance, take a portable repair kit along with you as well!

6. Train, Train, Train!

It probably goes without saying, but mountain biking is far different from a relaxed ride along paved bike trails. It’s a much more strenuous activity, and when you’re in such a remote area, going in under-prepared can be dangerous. Start training months ahead of the planned date for your trip, and do exercises that improve your leg strength and stamina.

7. Walk for Tougher Sections

Man is walking with his bike on mountain

If you’re not confident in your ability to bike through an obstacle or hill safely, just walk past it instead. When you’re just starting out as a mountain bike rider, some things will be beyond your skill level, and that’s okay. It’s better to take it slow and walk than attempt something too difficult and get injured. Once you’re past the obstacle, you can just mount your bike again and carry on.

8. Avoid Tensing Up

During a strenuous bicycle sport like mountain biking, you may find yourself tensing up involuntarily. If you notice this happening, try to loosen up your muscles a bit. Staying that tense all the time will make your motions less fluid, and you’ll probably find yourself much sorer the day after than you would otherwise. 

9. Pack Snacks, Water, and a First-Aid Kit

In the realm of biking for beginners, there are few things more important than preparation. Before setting out, make sure that you have some quick, nonperishable snacks to keep your energy up, plenty of water to keep you hydrated, and a first-aid kit in case something goes wrong.

10. Appreciate the View!

Man clicking photo of beautiful view

When you’re out in nature, you’re sure to encounter some absolutely beautiful scenery. Rather than just flying past all the great views along your cycling routes, take some time to appreciate them!

Looking for more great tips, tricks, and products for your outdoor hobbies? Feel free to visit our site at NineFit today!