This Chinese martial art that combines movement and relaxation is good for both body and mind. In fact, it's been called "meditation in motion." Tai chi is made up of a series of graceful movements, one transitioning smoothly into the next. Because the classes are offered at various levels, tai chi is accessible — and valuable — for people of all ages and fitness levels. "It's particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older," Dr. Lee says.
Exercise is a key part of staying healthy, but figuring out how to get more active can be tough. If you’re not used to physical activity, start slow. Go for 10 to 15 minute walks, and work your way up to briskly walking or jogging for 30 minutes daily. Try adding strengthening exercises 2 or 3 days per week, and consider boosting your flexibility with yoga or Pilates classes. Whenever you work out, always listen to your body’s limits, and ask your doctor for advice if you have a history of any medical issues.
Before starting a weight training program, be sure to learn the proper form. Start light, with just one or two pounds. You should be able to lift the weights 10 times with ease. After a couple of weeks, increase that by a pound or two. If you can easily lift the weights through the entire range of motion more than 12 times, move up to slightly heavier weight.
This is a two-fold explanation: 1) how long it takes to train per session and 2) how frequently we recommend training. We believe – and basic muscle physiology principles state – that the best way to stimulate a muscle is by short, intense bouts of exercise. Not in long, drawn-out workouts, which simply can’t be as intense. Ideally, a resistance training workout should only last 20 to 30 minutes. Longer workouts are typically less intense and can release catabolic hormones (which we don’t want). When it comes to exercise, “more” is not necessarily “better.” Working out is merely a method of stimulating your results. Your actual gains or improvements occur when your body “recovers” from the exercise. If you exercise before your muscles are completely recovered from a bout of exercise, you’re just … beating a dead horse. You need to find the right “dose” of exercise for you. Too little exercise limits your progress, but too much or too frequent exercise doesn’t allow your body to recover properly and may hinder your progress as well. The ideal frequency of your training may change over time based on things like your specific genetics or how intensely you train. Our clients typically train only once or twice per week, with only a handful ever training more frequently than that. The best way to know how frequently you should train is through very detailed and accurate record keeping. Your personal trainer at SMX will always monitor your training. Once a fair amount of data is compiled by your trainer, we can dial in and fine-tune how frequently and what intensities are ideal for you to maximize your results.
There’s a simple way to get your body back in fat-blasting mode: Temporarily ditch your go-to moves. "When you change up your workout, your body works harder because it’s in unfamiliar territory," explains Amy Dixon, a Santa Monica, California–based trainer and exercise physiologist. "That’s what causes it to burn more calories and build more muscle."
Mix-and-match interval training works magic in Natalie Jill's Rev4 Rev It Up. The four 10-minute routines hit different trouble zones so you can do them as stand-alones—"I definitely felt I got a good workout after each," one tester said—or combine them for a total-body session. Testers loved that they could "switch things up for time-pressed mornings" and gave props to instructor Jill's "nice energy." Expect a variety of planks and booty-shaping moves.
Active recovery is recommended after participating in physical exercise because it removes lactate from the blood more quickly than inactive recovery. Removing lactate from circulation allows for an easy decline in body temperature, which can also benefit the immune system, as an individual may be vulnerable to minor illnesses if the body temperature drops too abruptly after physical exercise.
Lose yourself in the high-energy rhythm of the Pound Rockout Results System, a five-disc sweatfest in which you wield drumsticks (aka Ripstix) instead of weights. "The drumming takes your mind off your muscles hurting!" one tester marveled. You'll "constantly tap the sticks" in each routine—core, upper body, lower body, intervals, tune-up and jam session—for a "totally unique" cardio blast.