Get Fit for THON Weekend

Now that THON Weekend 2012 is just one short week away, the fact that thousands of students will be standing for 46 hours without sleep is finally starting to feel real.

Whether you’re a dancer or committee member, or you simply plan on spending THON weekend as a supporter in the stands, it is important to prepare yourself for the big event. Mental preparation is essential, but don’t forget about your body; there are very few negatives to being physically fit! Exercising your legs and back muscles will be the best way to help you stand, and getting in a good amount of cardio will help keep you going throughout the whole weekend. Here are some great ways to focus on these three main areas:

1. Legs

Lunges are a great way to strengthen your quads and hamstrings (and they also make your butt look great!). For the pros, lunges can be done in the gym while holding weights of your choice. If you’re more of a beginner, they’re a great simple exercise to perform in your dorm room or apartment. Start standing upright, and then step your right foot forward until your knee is bent at a 90 degree angle over your toe. Hold this for a few seconds, then bring yourself back up and repeat on the other side.

Squats are another classic way to tone your leg muscles. To do a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees as if you were sitting down in an invisible chair, and make sure to keep your back straight. Hold it for a second, and then bring yourself back up using your leg muscles. Do as many as you can to make sure those legs and butt are ready to hold you up during THON Weekend!

2. Back

Although strengthening your lower back can sometimes feel silly, you will thank yourself when you have been standing for hours on end. To work on your lower back muscles, lay down flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground (as if you’re about to do crunches). Then, arch your back and push your pelvis upwards. After a few seconds, relax and repeat 15-30 times.

You can do this next one pretty much anywhere; the HUB waiting for a friend, at the dinner table, or even in class. Sit up with your back completely straight, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold and release as many times as you can until you feel a burn. Then, take a short break and start over again!

3. Cardio

Who doesn’t love a good cardio workout?! Although this one is a little more time consuming, it is arguably the most important. Cardiovascular exercise helps you build endurance, the most important asset during THON Weekend. If you don’t have much time, hop on an elliptical for 20 minutes and you’ll be surprised how good of a workout you get. If you have an hour or two to kill, spend some time on the arc trainer (also a great calorie burner!) or the treadmill. If you’re not a runner, try jogging and power walking at different intervals throughout your workout.

Grabbing a few friends and hitting the gym together is also a great way to motivate yourself and others. Studies have shown that people who workout with a buddy have an easier time getting through the workout and are likely to spend more time exercising. Additionally, it makes the time pass more quickly, meaning that THON Weekend 2012 will arrive sooner than you think!

Whatever your schedule or current state of fitness, getting moving and forcing that heart rate up a little bit each day will significantly change your THON Weekend experience!

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