Are Boot Camp Workouts as Healthy as They Seem?
Fitness boot camps are popular—and for good reason. The tough, military-inspired workouts, which tend to focus on minimal equipment, classic moves and bursts of high intensity, can burn up to 400 calories in 40 minutes while also strengthening muscles.
All of that is great, but there are some aspects of boot camp workouts that have experts a little worried. For one, some boot camps are organized so that you exercise almost every day (think of the super popular home workout DVDs like P90X and Insanity) if not every single day. And that means you might not be giving your body enough time to rest. Rest days are when your body repairs itself after intense workouts and muscles rebuild themselves and get stronger.
Another danger is that some people jump right into a boot camp without having exercised in a long time. Research shows that people who are out of shape and then do an intense burst of exercise are at a higher risk for a heart attack. Even fit people risk injury if their form is off. And when you are being urged to move faster and faster, as is often the case in boot camps, poor form can quickly lead to injury.
Should you still give a boot camp workout a shot? Absolutely! You just need to take a few steps beforehand to ensure your safety. Start by finding the right class for you. Make sure that you can scale down the workout to fit your fitness level and that your instructor will go through correct form before starting. If you’re at all concerned about the intensity, talk to your doctor and find out if you are physically ready. If you aren’t, be safe and work up to that point before signing up. And lastly, make sure you have the right mindset. You are doing these workouts to get healthier and are competing against yourself, not everybody else in the class.
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Photo credit: Fort Rucker