Thursday can still be leg day, but adding a conditioning exercise gives the rest of your body a workout, too

The average person takes a targeted approach with their fitness regimen. One day its legs. Another day its arms, or maybe it’s abs or cardio. The problem is that, even with the best of intentions, we’re not really getting a total body workout.

The sum is greater than its parts. That’s key to remember if you want to avoid injuries as you work out.

A holistic approach

A University of Rochester School of Medicine study shows that the average male loses about half a pound of muscle each year after age 20. By age 50, a man’s body weight can be comprised of 15 pounds less muscle than he was 30 years earlier.

For this reason, we need to adopt an exercise regimen that combines aerobic and strength training activities. This can help us to maintain muscular strength because muscle mass helps you burn more calories. Our resting metabolic rate declines by about 2 percent every 10 years after we reach the age of 20. If you don’t work to increase the muscle mass you’re already starting to lose, you’ll have to reduce your intake by 100 calories to maintain your body weight.

Conditioning workouts exercise the whole body

Conditioning exercise workouts combine strength training with aerobics. They’re designed to engage your core and most of your muscle groups. An extra added benefit is that you’ll also get a neuromuscular workout as well.

A conditioning exercise is an activity that will burn fat, increase muscle mass, and prepare your body for the physical requirements of sports. A good conditioning exercise regimen has three elements:

  1. Aerobic conditioning engages your large muscle groups for extended periods, which increases your cardiovascular capacity.
  2. Anaerobic conditioning increases your muscular endurance and is characterized by short, intense workouts as opposed to the extended aerobic exercises. Squat thrusts, burpees, and jumping jacks are examples of anaerobic exercises.
  3. Increasing muscle strength with weight-resistance exercises condition your muscles for strength and helps to prevent muscle-related injuries. This element of your workout is similar to anaerobic conditioning, but it’s not fast and intense. You definitely want to take your time and concentrate when lifting weights.

Muscles, heart, and lungs

Body conditioning exercises generally increase the fitness of the tissues in your body. When we think of tissues, we naturally think of muscles. Conditioning exercises help to activate the cells that build our muscle tissues.

Let’s not forget that our heart is a muscle. Engaging regularly in conditioning exercises increases our body’s need for energy. The heart beats faster and works harder. This important muscle is made stronger.

Conditioning exercises, especially the aerobic elements, work to strengthen our lungs. Over time, our respiratory capacity becomes more robust as it works to supply the bloodstream with oxygen to create energy for exercise. Our lungs become stronger.

Benefits of conditioning exercises

Sure, focusing on bicep curls will give you something to show off, but your body needs a complete workout to help it remain strong and prevent injury. Conditioning exercises can even help you spend less time overall at the gym. A full-body session of conditioning exercises will work for major muscle groups in compound exercises, meaning you’ll burn more calories in less time.

We’ll stick with time just a bit longer. Conditioning exercises take better advantage of time if you don’t have plenty of it to spare. It’s a more efficient workout because it’s a full workout, so you’re maximizing the efficiency of your time.

It might seem counterintuitive because you’re not focusing on weight training, but conditioning exercises work all of your major muscle groups more often. Leg day maybe every Thursday with just weight training alone, but conditioning exercises see to it that your legs get a workout more frequently.

Finally, conditioning exercises give you an unexpected amount of flexibility. You don’t have to be at the gym to do a full-body workout. Even the muscle strength elements of conditioning exercises can be accomplished with body weight resistance. With a single workout, conditioning exercises like biking, swimming, or yoga can stimulate the same number of muscle groups as multiple isolation-based workouts.

Conditioning exercises are one of the main ways to gain overall strength and increase your protection against muscle injuries. But, it’s no magic bullet against muscle and joint soreness. Learn how professional athletes treat their aches and pains.