What's in your fitness arsenal? I just stocked up on yoga apparel (yay!) for my new hot yoga workouts. But when it comes to fitness gear, I often wonder if I have everything I need. So I asked an expert to share her top five must-have fitness products. If you don't have these, it may be time to go shopping...
Sabrena Merrill, M.S., American Council on Exercise (ACE)-certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor gave me this list of fitness must-haves:
"Any type of portable music player can do wonders for increasing motivation during cardio or weight-training sessions. Behavioral psychologists call it 'dissociation,' a method by which a person's attention is purposefully diverted away from unpleasant sensations. For the typical exerciser who struggles with exercise, listening to her favorite music can be a pleasant distraction, helping her stick to her workout routine." Fitness fatigue? Check out these exercise trends for 2009!
2. Pilates mat
"Unless your only form of exercise is yoga, a Pilates mat is a good choice. Pilates mats are thicker, while yoga mats are stickier. Exercisers who use mats for all types of activities (e.g., crunches, core work, push-ups, balance training) will find the thicker cushioning of the Pilates mat more protective of the spine and other joints. Because Pilates mats are thick, they make an excellent surface on which to train standing and one-legged balance (they are more squishy, which makes balancing more of a challenge). Plus, at the end of the workout, Pilates mats can be rolled up and put away, just like yoga mats."
3. Heart rate monitor and exercise journal
"Success is an objective measure. That is, you can't see improvement if you can't measure it. Using heart rate monitors and reporting in an exercise log are powerful methods for tracking fitness improvements and for getting people to exercise more often. A study that measured exercise program adherence among women participating in a 6-month walking program found that those who used exercise logs and heart rate monitors exercised more frequently and increased their aerobic fitness more than those who didn't use the tracking devices."
4. A fabulous water bottle
"Dehydration during exercise can be a real problem. If your body is not properly hydrated, you could suffer from performance losses, fatigue, and a decreased ability to control body temperature. Experts recommend drinking fluids before, during, and after exercise and paying attention to thirst to determine water needs. Fortunately, you can purchase reusable water bottles made of aluminum and stainless steel and avoid plastic- or BPA-containing bottles."
5. The perfect shoes
"Exercisers should select a shoe specific for their workout activity. For example, running shoes provide far more cushioning and stability than walking shoes. Walking shoes are designed for the heel-toe motion of the proper walking technique, while running shoes are designed to accept the impact of a runner's stride, which is more flat-footed. If you participate in an activity for more than three hours per week, use a shoe that makes sense. Proper shoes can enhance performance and ease the stress placed on your joints during specific activities. Tips for finding the right shoes for you can be found at the American Academy of Orthopeadic Surgeons Web site.
What's on your fitness product must-have list?
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