Tired of running circles around the track or doing the same routine in the gym? Try a change of pace, your body needs variety to keep making progress, once the muscles get used to the same routine you’ll stop seeing results. Follow Rocky’s lead and head for the stairs!
What better place than the amphitheatre in Altos deChavon? Stair climbing is one of the best workouts for legs and buttocks and of course, the heart. As long as you start slow and build your intensity it’s safe for the knee joints, unless you have a pre-existing knee problem, then stick to walking. Oh and stick to the small, close together stairs, don’t put strain on your knees by trying to take gigantic steps.
Start with a walk across the top of the amphitheatre, head down, walk back and forth downstairs twice and then head back up, this will give your legs a break between sets of stair climbing. Don’t try to run up and down at first, go slowly, start with only 10 – 15 min. the first week then add on another 5 min. each week. Eventually you won’t need to take a walking break between climbs. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down by walking around for 5 minutes, and stretch your legs when you’re done!
Avoid over straightening your knees when climbing, place your whole foot on the step, if you climb with your heel hanging off the step you can injure your Achilles tendon which connects your calf to your heel (very painful!) Wear supportive shoes, cross trainers are best, running shoes wont give you enough lateral support and don’t overdo it! take 1 or 2 days between stair climbing sessions, alternate with walking, swimming or cycling; my favorite is a slow to moderate paced walk the next day to flush out the lactic acid from your legs and help ease the pain (it’s a good pain though, I promise). Most importantly don’t forget your water! Drink small amounts, about 4 oz., every 15 minutes, or more often if needed during exercise to prevent the feeling of water sloshing around in your stomach. Unless you’re an endurance athlete working out for over 3 hours straight, stay away from the sports drinks, you’re body doesn’t need the extra sugar or calories and a moderate exercise routine doesn’t merit a sports drink!
This article was contributed by Jacqueline M. Banks.