Circuit v Run v Bike
As the majority of people across the globe begin to return to a semblance of normality, the reopening of gym’s across the country has brought the question of whether they are really worth it to the fore of many peoples’ minds. Such an extended period of time in lockdown has forced individuals to re-evaluate their fitness and lifestyle habits as gyms and other businesses open back up for the first time since the start of the pandemic. As a result, many people now find themselves posed with the question of whether returning to the gym is really worth it. The past 16 months have shown the world the importance of adaptation and people have therefore found new ways to reach or maintain their fitness goals without the requirement of a public gym.
With many people lacking a fully functioning set of gym equipment at home, we are therefore going to look into the most effective form of workout that does not require a membership.
Home Circuit Workout
One of the most popular methods of fitness during the pandemic lockdowns came in the form of circuits. For fitness enthusiasts and providers around the country, circuit workouts provided an interactive and comprehensive method of fitness that could be easily facilitated and adapted with minimal or no equipment. As a result, circuits are efficient and effective to maximise results in a short period of time.
The concept of a circuit workout is to provide a series of exercises that can target different muscle groups throughout the body. There are usually 6-12 exercises selected depending on the difficulty or length of the workout and the idea is to complete a set number of repetitions for each exercise with a short period of rest in between.
As a result, alternating between various muscle groups gives the chance for one to rest whilst the other is working. Because of the minimal rest that is employed, there is a cardiorespiratory response to the workout to accompany the strengthening aspect created by the movements themselves. Because of this, there is a boost in muscular endurance as well as a boost to the metabolism during the periods of high intensity exercise.
Whilst we can’t all expect to head out and rival Mo Farah on our runs, the benefits of heading out on the pavements should not be overlooked. Despite the plethora of companies that have delved into the technological side of running, at its’ core, you only need a single pair of trainers to take part.
When undertaking physical exercise, it is important to identify a specific goal or focus of doing so. When listing important factors, the benefits of running cover almost every benefit. Extensive studies have shown that running decreases mortality rates as well as reducing body fat and helping you sleep. Due to your body continuously moving for the workout, the number of total calories burned often outweighs that which can be burned by other forms of exercise.
When identifying the health benefits associated with running, it has been proven that just five to ten minutes worth of running a day is associated with a drastically lower risk of of dying from cardiovascular disease. Asides from the physical benefits, running has been proven to have extensive impacts on the mental health of those who partake in the activity. Just 20 minutes of running has been shown to drastically reduce individuals’ stress levels and subsequent ability to cope with stress.
Part of the ‘new wave’ of exercise during lockdown came in the form of a bike ride. Strava recorded that in 2020, there was an 80% increase in outdoor bike rides alongside a 70% increase in indoor rides. As a relatively simplistic method of exercise, like running, bike riding presents a simplistic opportunity to engage in physical activity without an extensive level of skill.
Whilst providing similar benefits to running in terms of weight-loss, general cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and mental health, biking provides the benefit of being a highly efficient form of physical exercise without the strain and impact on your muscles and joints. Both running and circuit workouts apply strain which, if not managed correctly, has the potential to cause injury if undertaken to excessive levels. Biking presents a non-impact means of exercise which subsequently minimises the risk of injury. On average, a 30-minute bike ride burns 200-500 calories, a massive benefit to a low impact activity.
An immediate draw-back for those currently without one however is that in order to partake in the activity, you need a bike. The world of road bike purchases can be an intimidating one for those without the knowledge of exactly what they’re looking for and with prices from £250 to over £1,000, you need to make sure you know exactly what you’re going to be getting for your money.
So, What is the Best Form of Exercise?
As with all considerations, it is important to understand what your targets are for your form of exercise. The current climate has shown the potential for capitalising on the ability to either work remotely or work from home completely. As a result, additional time throughout the working day has opened the door to opportunities to exercise in more efficient ways.
An intense, no-holes-barred approach to fitness such as circuit training helps provide the boost to your metabolism that fitness enthusiasts crave at the start of the day. It is a time efficient means of training your entire body that will help you to see rapid improvements in a very short space of time.
For a consistent, steady release from the pressures of a working day, running helps to relieve stress, allowing you to be at one with your thoughts. Within this however, there is the potential to adjust to higher intensity runs or full sessions such as fartlek or interval training.
For those with the means of doing so, a bike ride provides similar benefits without the impact on your body. Whilst the expenditure of the bike and time duration to burn the same amount of energy might be a trade off for the additional journey length and exploration of the area around you, the simplicity of the activity is alluring to many cyclists.