By Briana Hayes
With summer right around the corner, there will be plenty of time and nice weather to try the newest fitness fads.
There are four principles of fitness—cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, flexibility and balance, and muscular endurance. By trying these new fitness trends throughout the summer, you can make sure to gain all-around fitness.
The most underrated and neglected principle of fitness is flexibility and balance. While most people think muscular tone and cardiovascular endurance are intrinsic, flexibility and balance also play an important role.
With improved balance and flexibility, an individual can improve their coordination, focus on muscle isolation training, burn more calories due to stabilization, and improve core strength.
A new fad to try this summer to improve balance is slacklining. If you have ever taken a walk to the Charles River on a nice day, you can witness people balancing on a taught rope attached to trees or poles—this is slacklining.
Slacklining is more difficult than it appears and requires core strength and concentration. It improves balance by aiming to develop muscles that one does not usually use, such as ankle strength.
Through slacklining, proprioception—or your body’s sense of its position in space—can improve. This will allow muscle to be built to support the body in other fitness activities.
On April 17, Fit@Simmons is offering a class on slacklining if you want to give this a try. While often neglected, balance is essential to fitness levels.
With little doubt, the most popular principle of fitness is cardiovascular endurance. The cardiovascular endurance of an individual is measured through VO2 max or maximal oxygen uptake.
The best way to improve VO2 max is through endurance sports such as biking, swimming or running. Running always seems to go in and out of popularity.
In fact, after traumatic events running seems to increase in popularity. This can be because of how running acts as a stress reliever and can enhance positive emotions through increased self-efficacy and neurotransmitters.
While running is nothing new, mud runs and neon runs are growing in reputation. Due to the camaraderie built during these runs, people often run them to have a fun experience.
There is no better time to participate in these runs than during the summer. The weather permits for beautiful early morning or evening runs to train for these events.
The last two principles of fitness are muscular strength and muscular endurance; these two are often confused.
Muscular strength is defined as the maximum amount of force that a muscle can exert against some form of resistance in a single effort. On the other hand, the endurance of a muscle refers to the ability of the body to continue the use of muscular strength over a period of time.
Muscular strength can be improved by lifting or strength training. Current and popular strength training exercises include CrossFit and Kettlebells.
CrossFit introduces a random set of exercises done at high intensity and focuses on muscular strength through them. Even though Kettlebells engage the entire, body they also focus on building muscle.
When it comes to muscular strength it is important to know that it can help with the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis as well as toning the body, however, it is important to introduce moderate exercises into a routine instead of high intensity all the time.
Muscular endurance can be built through circuit training. This is when an individual performs exercises at a lower weight but higher repetitions in a circular fashion. However, this can get boring.
A trend that is currently popular and improves muscular endurance is High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT incorporates a shorter time in which the intensity of exercise is great, followed by a longer time interval with a lower intensity. Through this constant repetition, muscular endurance can be improved.
While some fads tend to fade away, try them while they are in and have a summer full of fitness.