Admit it -- if time and money were irrelevant, you would hit the hit gym for a quality resistance workout. After all, with expensive pulley systems, free weights and Adonis-esque personal trainers eager to assist you, the gym has it all. However, while signing up to a gym is easy; carving out time in your hectic schedule to get there is another story. Instead of a costly gym membership, invest in a set of figure 8 resistance bands. Tote these flexible-tubed bad boys throughout your day, sneaking in mini workouts as time allows.
Determine your desired tension, or resistance. Figure 8 bands will come in varying shades of green, blue, yellow and red. Starting with yellow and ending with blue, the band colors increase in resistance. The best way to figure out which one works for you is try them. Go into a sporting goods store and try a few standing bicep curls. If the exercise is effortless, move up to the next color.
Focus on toning the whole body. The American Council on Exercise has a total body workout using only 12 moves. Squat, hamstring curls and leg abductions tone the lower body. While an exercise such as lat raises and pull downs tighten the upper body. Sculpt your arms with bicep curls and flatten your abs with reverse crunches. ACE suggests using a flat exercise band; figure 8 resistance bands are interchangeable and appropriate for these exercises.
Alternate the days you do resistance training with the figure 8 bands. Allowing muscle time to rest prevents injury. Just because you're not using the figure 8 band doesn't give you an excuse to get lazy. On your off days, engage in calorie blasting cardio. Run, bike or take an aerobic class. Whatever activity you choose, make it one that gets your pulse racing. Aim to sweat it out at least one and a half hours a week, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults should also work on strengthening their muscles at least two days a week.
- Depending on the exercise, you may want to buy more than one tension. You can ask a personal trainer for help finding the best resistance. Or you can also double a band to increase its resistance.
- Always check with your physician before trying new exercise equipment.
- While working out with a figure 8 resistance band, stop and rest. When doing resistance training, it's possible to pull or strain a muscle. If pain or discomfort persists, see your physician.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.