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Better Balance: The Importance of Maintaining and Improving Balance

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Jan 20, 2023 1:52:21 PM

 Merriam-Webster has quite a few definitions of the word balance.  But the first one, and the one we will be using in this post, is this: 


: physical equilibrium 

trouble keeping your balance on a sailboat 

lost his balance and fell 

a boxer kept off balance for a whole round 


: the ability to retain one's balance 

Gymnasts must have a good sense of balance. 


Basically, balance is when your weight is evenly distributed in a way where you can stand or move and not fall or catch yourself if you trip so that you do not fall.  There are many components to good balance.   The central nervous system, inner ear, eyes, muscles, bones, and joints all play a part in our balance.   


Having good balance is important for everyone as falls can cause serious injuries at any age.  However, many factors make balance more difficult for older adults and any subsequent falls more serious.  The CDC reports that one in four of those 65 and older fall each year and one out of every five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.  Working to maintain our ability to balance as we age is extremely important for our safety and if we don’t keep working on it, we will lose that ability.   


You can test your balance.  Try standing on one leg and time yourself.  (Be sure to have something stable nearby in case you need it to steady yourself).  Can you hold that one legged position for at least 10 seconds?   A study that was released in 2021 in the BMJ, showed that being able to balance on one leg for 10-seconds can predict a longer life.   Out of the 1,700 older adults in the study, 20% of them could not balance on one leg for 10-seconds or more.  They found that not being able to balance for at least 10-seconds was associated with a twofold risk of death from any cause within 10 years.  This is just an association, not a causation, but still data suggesting how important balance is for our health.   


What Impacts Our Balance? 


Because there are many factors at work to provide our body with balance, there are quite a few things that can cause unbalance.   


Some medical conditions can affect a person’s balance.  Disorders that affect the central nervous system like stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can impact one’s ability to balance.   


Anything that impacts the inner ear’s vestibular system also affects balance.  Vertigo might be the most often heard of problem in the inner ear.  Even a cold can cause temporary disruption of your inner ear balance.  Also, the nerve cells that make up our vestibular system decrease with age which is one of the reasons older adults struggle more with balance issues.  When the tiny structures in this system are damaged in any way, dizziness is likely along with feelings of being unsteady.  Age related changes to the inner ear structures is a common cause of balance issues in seniors.   


Vision is another important part of our ability to balance.  Being able to see what is around helps to stay steady and on our feet.  Eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration can all affect one’s physical stability.  This is an easy thing to confirm, try standing on one foot with your eyes closed versus with your eyes open.  Big difference!   


Certain medications and alcohol can also impact our balance. 


Any limitations to range of motion will potentially cause asymmetrical movements and in turn potential balance problems.   


Nerves called proprioceptors tell the brain about changes in conditions that call for bodily adjustments.  If our muscles and tendons are weak, stiff, or slow, we won’t be able to react as fast as needed, or at all to avoid a fall.  Our muscle tone starts to diminish as early as our mid-thirties, so it is important to do strength training exercises to preserve (and/or gain) muscle.   


How to Improve Balance 


Despite it being normal for balance to diminish with age, there are things to do to improve or maintain it.  A study published in BMJ revealed that balance training for older adults reduced the risk of injurious falls by 43 percent and the risk of falls resulting in fractures by 61 percent. 


Balance training consists of strengthening the muscles of the core, increasing (or maintaining) flexibility, having good posture, and boosting endurance.  Things that should be part of everyone’s wellness routine!  There are many ways to perform balance training.  Tai Chi and Yoga are popular ways to improve flexibility and balance.  Many exercises using only bodyweight (no equipment) can help balance and resistance training can improve balance by strengthening core muscles.  The stronger the muscles in your legs, glutes, feet and abdominals, the better your balance.   


Having better posture keeps our center of gravity over our feet, not pitching forward, which helps to keep us from falling.  Throughout the day think of sitting or standing tall, lifting your chest, and rolling your shoulders up then back and down.  


Exercises to Help Improve Balance 


Many balance exercises do not require any equipment.  All the moves below can be done at the gym or at home.  Try these exercises 2 – 3 times a week.   Gradually increase the duration of the exercises as you get stronger.  As with any new workout program, check with your doctor first before starting new activity.   


Balance Exercises for Those with Unsteady Balance: 


1. Sit to Stand – Sit in a firm chair then stand, then carefully sit back down.  Cross your arms at your chest or hold them straight out in front of you throughout the exercise.  Repeat 10 times.   

2. Calf Raises – Stand behind your chair, holding on to the back of the chair, and lift your heels raising up onto your toes, then lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat 10 times. 

3. Side Leg Lifts – Stand behind your chair, holding on to the back of the chair, and lift one leg out to the side then bring your leg back in.  Perform 10 repetitions per side. 



Balance Exercises for Those with Better Balance: 


1. Heel to Toe– Focus on a spot ahead of you.  Stand with your feet heel to toe and hold the position from five to 30 seconds.  Switch feet and repeat.  Repeat up to 5 times.  As this gets easier, add a walk.  Start with your feet heel to toe then bring your back foot in front of the other and so on walking forward and then back at a slow and controlled pace. 

2. One Leg Stand – Practice standing with only one foot on the floor, holding the opposite foot up and hold for five to 30 seconds.  Switch feet and repeat.  Repeat up to 5 times. 

3. Braiding – Stand up straight with your feet together.  Cross your left foot in front of your right foot then step out with your right foot and cross behind with your left foot.  Continue this for 10 steps to the right, then bring your feet together and then do 10 steps to the other side crossing your right foot in front of your left.   


Having the ability to balance is an important part of our health and wellness.  The good news is that it is never too late to work on and improve our balance.  There are things we can do to keep our balance or get it back!  If you aren’t sure what to do or want some help, ask a LivRite trainer today!   


Watch for videos for these balance training exercises on our Instagram page @livriteindy – Follow us there!   

Topics: LivRite News

5 Tips for a Healthier New Year

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Dec 26, 2022 2:44:51 PM


 The start of a New Year usually brings about ideas of change, personal improvement, and new habits.  One of the most common things that people want to change or improve is their health.  Here are five tips to think about when planning healthier changes to make this year. 


1. Start with The Basics 


Before you start any elaborate plan to improve your health, go back to the basics.  Without having the basics down, it will be tough to see much improvement in your overall health.  Sleep and hydration are the top two basics to me.  They really affect your health overall in many ways.   


Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  Numerous studies show how necessary adequate sleep is for our health.  The Harvard School of Medicine summarizes some of this research and concludes, “sleep experts say there is ample evidence that shows that when people get the sleep they need, they will not only feel better, but will also increase their odds of living healthier, more productive lives.”  One of the many things sleep does is helping your recovery from your workouts.  Without enough quality sleep, you may not see all the results from your hard work.   


Drink enough water.  Water is essential to keep your body functioning properly and feeling healthy.  Water makes up about 60% of our body weight and water works in many ways in our bodies.  Here are just a few examples (courtesy of The Mayo Clinic): 


  • Carries nutrients & oxygen to cells 
  • Lubricates joints 
  • Flushes out waste products 
  • Dissolves minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body 
  • Protects body organs and tissues 


Oftentimes you may feel hungry, but you are really dehydrated.  Drink a glass of water when you wake up and before every meal.  In general, men need at least 12 cups of fluid daily, while women may need a minimum of nine cups.  Some of that may come from food.  That is hard to track though, so a good rule of thumb is to drink at least 8 cups of actual water.  (If you don’t like it, add fruit!)  


2. Create Healthier Habits 


Why a habit?  Habits free us from decision making and from relying on self-control.  According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.  Once something is a habit, it becomes almost automatic, and you do it without thinking.  A habit is formed through a habit loop consisting of a cue, an activity, and a reward.  Something cues you to complete a certain activity like a location or time of day.  When that activity is complete your brain releases chemicals (like dopamine) that signal pleasure.  Because of the reward, your habit loop is reinforced.  This reward can feel like stress relief or happiness or another benefit that feels good to you at that moment.  Your brain will want to complete that activity again next time it is cued so you will receive the reward.  This works for all habits, healthy ones and bad.  For example, say whenever you get ready for bed (cue), you brush your teeth (activity), which results in clean feeling teeth that makes you feel good (reward).  Or a bad habit, whenever you drive to work (cue) you stop by Starbucks and get a Venti Mocha Frappuccino (activity) on your way in and you are rewarded by that rush of sugar (reward).   


Do you have some unhealthy habits you want to break?  Think of the habit loop.  A habit starts with a cue.  Because bad habits serve you in some way, it’s very difficult to simply eliminate them.  Instead, the activity you would like to stop needs to be replaced by a new habit that provides a similar benefit or reward.  Let’s say you want to quit smoking.  What cues you to smoke?  Identify your triggers and replace the bad habit with a healthier one whenever that cue comes up that will elicit a reward/similar benefit.  If you normally go outside on your work breaks (cue) for a cigarette, ask a coworker to go for a walk with you instead.  Or, if possible, remove those cues that make you want to smoke.  Another example, if you would like to stop snacking in the evening after dinner, think of what cues signal you to do so.  If it is sitting and watching tv, switch the mindless munching to knitting or doodling.  Or remove the cue of watching tv and meet up with a friend instead or talk on the phone.  Cut out as many cues as possible.  If you can’t remove the trigger (cue), replace the unwanted activity with a healthier option. 


James Clear said, “When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.” 


3. Set Small Goals 


Think about the things you'd like to achieve this year. Be realistic.  If you think of a large goal, like running a marathon or losing 100 pounds, think of the milestones along the way.  If you are not currently running regularly, a marathon is a huge task to undertake.  A first goal could be to train for a 5k, the next step would be a 10k and then a few more steps until a marathon.  Breaking down a large goal this way not only better prepares you, it gives you wins along the journey that should be celebrated and will keep you motivated.   


If you have weight you’d like to lose, break it down into manageable goals and keep them realistic.  Everyone is different, but in general, a good rule of thumb is to lose one pound a week.  Don’t set yourself up for failure with an unrealistic goal.  For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in a month, you may not achieve that goal and then will be frustrated and may not continue with your weight loss journey.  That’s a lofty target. Start with a goal of losing five pounds a month and be proud each time you reach that monthly objective.  Before you know it, 20 pounds will be lost.   


4. Make good choices for YOU!  

The reason why you are making any change should be because YOU want the result.  Making changes to our nutrition and exercising more (or at all) takes a lot of self-discipline and without your own intrinsic desire to eat more vegetables and take that group exercise class, you will probably go back to what you were doing last year as soon as a stressful situation hits.  If you are trying to lose weight or get healthier because your doctor or spouse or someone else told you that you should, you most likely won’t keep up your new healthier habits.   


Really think about why you want to make this change.  Do you want to stop taking medication for high blood pressure?  Do you want to have more energy to be able to play with your kids or grandkids?  Make sure it is something meaningful to you.  Whatever the reason, post it everywhere.  Write it down.  Remember it when your motivation lags.  Because you will not always be motivated!  Especially when everyone stops talking about resolutions in February and March and it is cold and dreary outside, you will probably have less motivation.  This is when the people who made resolutions fail.  But not you!  You are making new habits and you know why.  You must have the discipline to keep up with your healthier habits.  The good news about self-discipline is that it can be made stronger like a muscle.  The more things you achieve using your own willpower, the more self-discipline you will have in the future.  It is easier to be disciplined when you know WHY you are making these new habits and are passionate about that reason.   


5.  Throw Out the All or Nothing Mentality 


Something is better than nothing.   This applies to healthier eating habits as well as exercising.  Even if you have found the workout you usually do enjoy, there are still going to be days when you just don’t feel like doing it.  Expect those days and be ready for them.  You may have originally planned for a thirty-minute run but it turns into a ten minute walk instead.  Or you planned to go to a workout class, but your work schedule changes and you’ll miss the class.  Go for a walk instead or hit the elliptical.  That is ok.  You got movement in, and you will be ready to go for your next workout.  Sometimes when you aren’t feeling it, you just do it anyway and know in the end you will be glad you did.  There will also be days when life gets in the way and a workout just doesn’t happen.  No matter how many workouts you missed, all is not lost, get right back to it the next day.   (Of course, there should be rest days, or less active days, built in any workout plan too!).    


I hope these tips help you with any of the areas you might be looking at to improve upon this year.  If you are unsure where to start, schedule a complementary fitness assessment with a personal trainer at LivRite today!   


Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  

– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 


Topics: LivRite News

Five Tips to Stay Strong & Healthy Through the Holidays

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Nov 18, 2022 11:00:00 AM

Five Tips to Stay Strong & Healthy Through the Holidays – Quick Workout Included! 


The holiday season is upon us!  For the rest of the year, we will be busy with shopping, parties, family gatherings, and food.  Exercise is usually the first thing to get cut when things get hectic, but this is the time when it is especially important to keep fitness in your schedule.  Workouts will help you cope with the stress and excess food that comes with the season.  Plus, it will help keep your immune system strong.  Who wants to be sick during the Holidays?  No excuses to skip a workout when you need it now more than any other time of year!  Here are five tips to keep moving this Holiday Season. 
       1.  Make it a priority.  Instead of canceling your normal workout class after work to do some holiday prep, what else can you reduce so you can keep that workout in the schedule?  Maybe cut back an hour of a Netflix binge or scrolling through social media time to go pick up some gifts instead of skipping that group exercise class or other workout.   


During the holiday season there may be more events happening that change your usual schedule.  Be flexible and look at your calendar each week to plan your workouts.  They may not be when you usually workout, but there probably is another time you can get some exercise in.  Once you decide on when your workout will be that week, try not to change the plan.  However, it might be a good idea to have a Plan A and a Plan B.  For example, your book club has a holiday party on a night you typically go to the gym.  Since this is a one-time, special occasion, you’d like to attend so you plan (A) to go to the gym that morning before work.  But then you wake up that morning and your child is sick.  Not to worry, your plan B is to do an exercise video at home if you can’t make it to the gym.   

  1. Add a walk after your meal.  Walking after you eat aids in digestion and helps reduce any potential bloating.  Plus, walking after a meal can help manage and prevent diabetes or heart disease by keeping blood sugars from spiking.  Research has found that even just a 2–5-minute walk can keep your blood sugar levels more even than if you sit or stand after eating.  Large spikes and subsequent big drops of blood sugar can raise the risk for diabetes and heart disease.  Also, you feel hungry again as soon as the levels plunge after a big spike so may end up eating more than you need.  Make it a family event and bring everyone out to walk or do something active after dinner. 
    ​3.  Sign up for a race.  There are so many fun Holiday themed races.  Plan and train to run or walk a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving or another Holiday race.  It will be a fun atmosphere and sometimes raises money for a great cause.  They even have races that play Christmas carols while you run and some where you can wear Santa Hats!  


  1. Traveling?  No excuse! Traveling is the perfect time to check out new workouts and fitness centers!  I love checking out the fitness centers in hotels.  I want to get every penny's worth from a hotel stay and love to take advantage of everything they offer.  

    If you are staying with family or friends, see if they have somewhere they currently workout and if they would take you.  Many gyms and studios let members bring a guest for free or a nominal cost.  This is a great opportunity to try a new workout you might not have at home or just haven't done before. Or if you have family visiting from out of town, bring them to your gym with you as your guest!   
    Another way to exercise while traveling is to walk or run in the area.  It's a great way to see somewhere you aren't as familiar with or to revisit old haunts.   I love running in new or different places (especially when a beach is involved).  It makes your workout more interesting and fun plus you get to see sights you might have otherwise missed. 
    5.  Embrace short workouts.  If you truly feel you don't have time to get in a workout class, online video, DVD or a trip to the gym, don't forget that any movement adds up.  Find a short circuit workout to do at home.  Many don't require any equipment.   Make sure you are getting plenty of movement in each day.  Walk farther away from the store.  Do squats and jumping jacks while you prepare dinner or watch tv, you get the idea, just get moving whenever you can! 


The 10 Minute Workout 


Here's a quick no equipment workout for you to do anywhere.  It’s an AMRAP, which stands for As Many Rounds as Possible.  This AMRAP has three exercises which you will do 10 repetitions (reps) of the exercise before moving on to the next, do 10 reps of that exercise and then after 10 reps of the third exercise take a quick break (if you need to) then start with the first exercise again and continue going through the circuit of three exercises, 10 reps each, until your 10 minutes is complete.  Don’t have 10 minutes?  Do it for any length of time you have available, it all counts! 


Warm up with 30 seconds of Jumping Jacks or Marching in Place with High Knees then a 30 second Plank then repeat each one more time 


For the remainder of your 10 minutes, complete 10 reps of each of: 

       1. Squats 

Step 1:  Stand with feet shoulder width apart and toes facing in front of you.   

Step 2:  Keeping your back flat, slowly lower your body, bending at the knees and the hips. Stop when your legs form a 90-degree angle. Do not let your knees go much past your toes.  

Step 3:  Slowly push through your heels to return to the starting position, contracting the thigh and glute muscles. 

        2. Push Ups

Step 1: Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your core engaged and don’t let your hips sag. 

Step 2: slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor 

Step 3: Press upwards back to plank position. You can start on your knees or try it against a wall or bench to modify this exercise. 

        3. Mountain Climbers


 Step 1: Start in a plank position with arms and legs long. Beginning in a solid plank is the key to proper form and good results in the Mountain Climber. At its heart, the Mountain Climber is a form of plank. Keep your abs pulled in and your body straight. Squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders away from your ears 

Step 2: Pull your right knee into your chest.  As the knee draws to the chest, pull your abs in even tighter to be sure your body doesn’t sag or come out of its plank position. 

Step 3: Quickly switch and pull the left knee in. At the same time you push your right leg back, pull your left knee in to the chest using the same form. 

Step 4: Continue to switch knees. Pull the knees in right, left, right, left—always switching simultaneously so that you are using a “running” motion. As you begin to move more quickly be in constant awareness of your body position and be sure to keep a straight line in your spine and don’t let your head droop. Core body stability is crucial. 

Each time you pull in your right and left knee is one rep. 

Rest for a minute then repeat until your 10 minutes is up!   

Bottom line, enjoy the holiday season and keep your fitness habit.  It’s okay if it may look a little different for a month or two, just don’t cut it out completely.  Take care of your mental and physical health.  It’s the best gift you can give yourself and everyone you love! 


Topics: LivRite News

All About Planks:  Are Planks a Good Ab Exercise?

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Oct 25, 2022 10:49:48 AM


Chances are you have heard of the plank exercise.  If you train with me, you know that I like them (because you are probably doing at least one in every workout session) and if you look at my Instagram, you’ll see I have a picture of me planking at just about any vacation spot we have visited.  So why do I like a plank so much? It’s a great way to strengthen many muscles in your body, focusing on your entire core which includes your abdominals (abs).  No equipment is required, and it can be done anywhere, anytime!  I’ll share here the basics of planks and hopefully by the end of reading this you will be a fan too!   


What is a plank?  A basic plank is an isometric hold of the abdominals that strengthens your entire core and works your shoulders as well.  It involves maintaining a difficult position in which one’s body weight is held up by the hands (high plank) or forearms (low plank), elbows and toes for an extended period of time. It works many muscle groups; it is low impact and there is a version right for just about every fitness level.  Also, it can be safer for your spine than crunches if you have disc issues.   


Whether you want to have a six-pack or improve your balance, there are many reasons to strengthen your stomach muscles and the other muscles around your mid-section that make up your core. Having a strong core will help with your balance, your posture, reduce the risk of injuries, supports your spine, and can even reduce back pain!  Your core muscles power all our day-to-day movements.  Having a strong core will help you move safely and more easily.   Please note that exercises that work your abs and other core muscles will strengthen the muscles but will not spot reduce body fat from that area.  You also need good nutrition, full body strength training and cardiovascular exercise (cardio) to lose weight.  If you have extra around your middle, check out my post with 5 tips to lose belly fat.   


When performing any type of plank or other core exercise, it is important to remember to engage your core.  To engage your core, your abs should be tight and pulling in, but you should be able to breathe and move normally.   It is NOT sucking in your stomach and holding your breath.  You can practice engaging your core at any time by feeling your ribs expand to the sides while you inhale, then as you exhale contract and visualize zipping up your abs, thinking about pulling your navel up and in toward your spine.  Keep breathing normally while you continue to hold your abs in.   

How to do a High Plank - Lie face down with legs extended and hands flat directly under shoulders.  Feet should be hip-width apart, and hands should be shoulder-width apart. Contract your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body and straighten your arms.  You should be in a straight line from head to heels.  Hold for 30 seconds.   


How to do a Low Plank - Lie face down with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders; place your hands flat. Feet should be hip-width apart, and elbows should be shoulder-width apart. Contract your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body (forearms remain on the ground); you should be in a straight line from head to heels.  Hold for 30 seconds.   


Never hold the plank longer than you can with good form.  How do you know if your form is faltering?  If you are holding a plank and feel it in your lower back and/or arms only you should take a break.  You should feel your abs, glutes and front of legs working primarily when performing a plank with good form.  Always stop if you feel it in your lower back.   


While the classic high or low plank are great go-to exercises, planks can also be modified and movement added to suit your fitness level and to focus on what muscle groups you want to work.  Increasing the length of time you hold the plank pose is the basic way to maximize the exercise and keep gaining strength. Start with a 15- to 30-second hold and increase your time from there.  If that feels like too much, bring your knees to the floor instead of your toes.  Keep a straight spine from the top of your head to your knees, your pelvis neutral and in line with the rest of your body.  Come up onto your toes as you get stronger.   


Research doesn’t show benefits from holding a plank longer than 2 minutes.  A goal of reaching a 2-minute plank can be motivating to work toward or you can incorporate multiple 10-20 second holds as part of your workout or throughout your day.  Even better is to add a variety of movements from a plank position into your routine as you get stronger.  The intensity of a plank can be varied greatly by the choice of your plank type.   


A side plank is a variation that focuses on your side (your oblique muscles) and helps to stabilize the spine from side to side.   


How to do a Side Plank- Lie down on your side, leaning on one hand or elbow, your chest facing out instead of toward the floor. Make sure your hand or elbow is aligned with your shoulder. And don’t let your hips sink—keep them in line with your head and feet. Lift your hips off the ground and raise the top arm straight up to the sky. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds, then lower the hips back down. To increase the difficulty, lift your top leg as high as possible. 


Plank jacks add movement to the plank which challenges your core even more. 


How to do a Plank Jack – Start in a high plank position, then jump your legs out and in.  If this is too difficult, step your feet out and in.  Keep the rest of your body as still as possible while moving your legs and feet.   


Adding instability to your plank can increase the challenge as well. 


How to do a Stability Ball Plank - This can be done either with the forearms on the ball and feet on the floor or the tops of the shins or feet on the ball and hands or forearms on the floor.  Follow the directions for a regular plank with the change of either your arms or feet on the ball.   




To build core strength and spine stability, do planks two to three times a week.  Focus on holding the plank only as long as you can do so without arching your lower back and keeping good form.  Working up to holding a plank for 30 – 60 seconds is a great foundation of strength in your core.  As you get stronger, add plank variations to keep progressing and improving your strength.  A stronger core will increase your athletic performance and function for everyday tasks. 


Follow LivRite on Instagram for exercise ideas and more information on planks! 

Beginner's Guide to Cardio Machines

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Sep 20, 2022 11:08:35 AM

When you think of exercise, cardio exercise is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Cardio, short for cardiovascular, is a workout for your cardiovascular system which includes your heart and lungs. It is a key to living a longer and healthier life.


Just a few of the benefits of cardio exercise:


  • Lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer
  • Increases endurance for daily activities
  • Reduces pain and stiffness
  • Manage high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves mood and lowers risk of depression


Also called aerobic exercise, a cardio workout is any activity that elevates your heart rate and gets you breathing harder. No matter your level of fitness, there is a type of cardio exercise for you. Low intensity activities like going for a walk, moderate intensity activities like Zumba and other aerobic dance classes or high intensity exercises like running or plyometrics all count as cardio exercise. Some prefer to use machines to get their cardio workout done. Every LivRite Fitness location has many cardio machines for you to use.


All the cardio equipment is equipped with heart rate grips. When you grip the silver sensors on the handlebars of the machine, it will estimate your current heart rate. Both hands must grip the bars for your heart rate to register. It takes 5 consecutive heart beats for your heart rate to register. When gripping the pulse handlebars, do not grip tightly. Keep a loose hold. Please note: these heart rate monitors are just estimates and not 100% accurate. If you feel faint, stop exercising immediately.


All the cardio machines have a quick start option, a manual workout option, various level-based programs, as well as a fitness test.


To Quick Start on Any of the Matrix Cardio Machines at LivRite:


For a quick start, press the GO button and the machine will enter a manual mode of operation. All energy expenditure values will be calculated using the default weight measurement. Please note for the bike and ellipticals you should start pedaling before you are able to press GO.


Using the quick start function and then manually adjusting your speed as you go is a great way to start on any piece of cardio equipment. If you’d like to enter information to get a better estimate of your calorie burn and to set up your intensity level before you start, use the manual workout mode.


Manual is a workout setting that allows you to manually adjust the resistance levels at any time. The manual workout also contains a setup screen which allows you to input your weight to help calculate a more accurate caloric burn rate (though it is still an estimate).


To Start a Manual Workout on any of the Matrix Cardio Machines at LivRite:


1) Choose MANUAL by selecting the manual workout button and press ENTER.

2) Enter the desired intensity level using the ARROW KEYS or NUMBER KEYPAD and press ENTER.

3) Enter the desired time using the ARROW KEYS or the NUMBER KEYPAD and press ENTER.

4) Enter your weight (your weight is used to calculate the caloric expenditure value-providing an accurate weight helps to ensure a more accurate caloric expenditure estimate) using the ARROW KEYS or the NUMBER KEYPAD and press ENTER.

5) Press GO to begin the workout.


Each piece of equipment has level-based workout programs. These programs will automatically make changes to the machine to change the intensity level of your workout. You can select the level of the program as well as the length of time for the workout, but the machine will do the rest.


Some of the level-based programs include (please note – not all the machines have the same programs and this is not a complete list):


            - Rolling Hills is a level-based workout that automatically adjusts the intensity level to simulate walking, biking or running up hills. This program is on the treadmill, bike and elliptical.


            - Interval Training is a level-based workout that automatically adjusts the intensity in a series of low- to high-intensity levels. This program is on the bike and elliptical.


            - Fat Burn is a level-based workout that is designed to help burn fat through various resistance changes. This program is on all the cardio equipment.


            - Heart Rate allows you to program your desired heart rate zone and the machine will automatically adjust the level based upon your heart rate at that moment. You must continually hold onto the contact heart rate grips for this workout. This program is on all the cardio equipment.


            - Constant Watts - This program allows you to vary your cadence, RPM (rotations per minute) or SPM (steps per minute) (this depends on what machine you are on) and the machine’s resistance will adjust accordingly to your selected goal. This program is on the bike, elliptical and climbmill.


-Glute Training is a program on the elliptical that will increase your range of motion to target the thighs and glutes. You will be asked to enter in a minimum resistance level and maximum resistance level. The maximum resistance is applied at your peaks and the minimum resistance is applied in the valleys. Choose levels that are appropriate for you. A good starting point is a minimum resistance level of 1 and a maximum resistance level of 8.


To Start a Level-Based Workout:


1) Choose the workout you would like to start by pressing the button next to it on the control panel.

2) Follow the prompts to select your desired workout length, enter your weight and any other data that program may require such as level or maximum resistance.  


A basic breakdown of each of the main types of cardio equipment:


Treadmill – Stand with your feet on the belt and press GO for a quick start or select manual or a level-based training workout. The console will show a short countdown before the belt starts to slowly move. While walking or running, your feet should be in the center of the belt so that your hands can swing naturally and without contacting the front handlebars.


Try not to support too much of your upper body on the handles; you might feel like you're still doing work, but your workout will be much less intense and you'll burn fewer calories.


Climbmill - This set of steps is sometimes referred to as a stepper or a stair master. Stand directly behind the Climbmill. Grasp either the upper or lower handlebars and step onto the Climbmill until you are within comfortable reach of the console and remote handlebar controls.


The Climbmill has a special option to complete two fitness tests like what firefighters use in their training. Select Training Workout on the Climbmill and follow the prompts to either do the WFI (Wellness Fitness Initiative) protocol or the CPAT (The Candidate Physical Ability Test). The WFI test is a series of intervals lasting a maximum of 16 minutes, where the speed is increased every minute until your target heart rate is exceeded for 15 seconds. This test is used by firefighters to evaluate aerobic fitness capacity. The CPAT is a minimum requirement for a new firefighter. Firefighter recruits do this test with a 50-pound weight vest and an additional 25-pound weight (to simulate the breathing apparatus and hose bundles they carry during a fire). During the CPAT you must maintain 60 SPM (steps per minute) for 3 minutes.


Elliptical – The elliptical is a great low impact cardio option because you can use both your arms and legs for a more intense full body workout. To get on the elliptical, stand behind it and hold both rear arm rests for support then place your foot on the lowest foot pedal and push the pedal down into the lowest position before stepping onto the foot pedal. When the pedals rest, place your other foot on the opposite pedal.   Start pedaling and press Go for a quick start or select manual or a level-based workout program to begin.


Having your foot in the most forward position on the pedal increases your step height, which will create a feeling similar to a step machine. Placing your foot toward the back of the foot pedal decreases your step height and creates more of a gliding feel, like a walk or a run. Always make sure your entire foot is secured on the pad of the foot pedal.


To focus on a lower body workout, hold the stationary handlebars only. For a full body workout and a more challenging cardio workout, push and pull continuously on the dual action arms while pedaling.


Bike – We have two types of stationary bikes, recumbent and upright.


To determine proper seat position, sit on the seat and position the ball of your foot on the center of the pedal. Your knee should bend slightly at the furthest pedal position. You should be able to pedal without locking your knees or shifting your weight from side to side.


Start pedaling and press Go for a quick start or select manual or a level-based workout program to begin.


To start, beginners should aim for three to four cardio workouts a week for 20 to 40 minutes each session. Over time, your goal is to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise.


You can choose the type of cardio machine you’d like to use. The best one is the one you will use on a consistent basis! Anything that gets your heart rate up above your resting rate for at least 10 minutes at a time is a good starting place.


Don’t be intimidated to try each or any machine! The control panel will walk you through the steps to set up a program if you’d like or just press GO to manually control the intensity throughout your workout. If you have any questions, please ask a LivRite team member!