Are you looking to get fit?
A healthy body and mind go hand in hand, and we’re now more conscious of our fitness and health than ever. But if you’re starting with a fitness routine, it can be daunting and you may not know where to start.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for these top 10 exercise tips to make sure your workout does more good than it harms.
1. Don’t Forget Warming Up and Cooling Down
If you want to reduce the risk of strain and injury, you need a proper warm-up and cool-down routine. Make sure you start and finish by stretching every major muscle group.
You should start with a 10-15 minute low-intensity warm-up session. Walking on the treadmill is a good option for this. You want a gradual increase in your heart rate and for it to start making you sweat. If you are planning on doing a more intense workout, then you will need to spend more time warming up.
If you don’t have a treadmill, you can jog in place or jump jacks for example. Or even use a skipping rope if you have one handy. By going through the full range of motion for your muscles loosens them up and makes them more pliable.
2. Track Your Progress
Nothing makes exercise easier than tracking your progress, and seeing how far you have come. Whether you are comparing your personal best or watching your weight go down, it motivates you to keep going, without pushing yourself too far. Using a body fat scale is a great way to track your progress.
3. Organize the Workout Space
A lot of people will talk about getting into “the zone”. They’ll have earbuds in, their eyes focused ahead of them, and be concentrating hard. But, if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, this can put you (and others) at risk.
You don’t want to walk into other people’s workouts or have them walk into yours. Keep your eyes and ears open to what’s going on around you. And keep your workout space clutter-free.
Your exercise area shouldn’t be an obstacle course. If you leave equipment lying around, you increase the risk of tripping and falling. This could injure you or someone else using the space with you.
4. Follow Equipment Instructions
If you’re signing up for a gym, make sure you pay attention to the induction. And if you’re not sure of anything, ask. You should know how to perform the exercises you want to do correctly.
You should also follow the instructor manufacturers’ instructions for any equipment you’re using. If not, you could end up hurting yourself or other gym users.
5. Make a Plan
Set your fair benchmark taking into consideration your current fitness level. Then, using that assessment, put together a solid plan to get to your fitness goals. This should be safe, effective, and efficient.
Your plan should be fluid enough to change and adapt as you meet each goal. Put this plan in writing, and revisit it on a regular basis to keep it up to date as you progress.
6. Be Sensible
In this busy, hectic modern age finding time to get to the gym or work out at home can be tough. Then you have to muster the concentration and willpower on top of that. As with most things, the results take time and patience too, so it’s not like you see immediate results.
But, there is no rush. It’s better to take your time and be sensible than push too hard and fast and get hurt. If you’re struggling but your gym buddy is going in heavy, don’t try to keep up; keep your own pace.
This goes for short and long-term goals. Fitness becomes a way of life. The rewards will come over time, so don’t expect them all in one go.
7. Put Your Lungs to Use
You should never hold your breath when you exercise. Especially, when you’re using weights. If you hold your breath during exercise, you can cause a build-up of inner thoracic (rib cage) pressure.
This can then reduce the return blood flow to your heart. It can also put the amount of blood flow around your body at risk. Less blood flow, means less oxygen moving through.
8. Listen to Your Body
If you’re pushing too hard or exercising too often, your body will tell you. So, don’t ignore it. Always pay attention to and react to signals. These can include:
- sharp pain
That “warrior” attitude won’t be impressive if you’re out of action for weeks. Or months. Give your body time to adapt to the increased physical strain you put it through. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right then stop right away.
9. Don’t Let the Weights Overwhelm You
Following on from point 8, it’ll take time to build up your strength. Don’t rush into lifting weights you can’t handle. If you’re starting new and trying to test how much you can handle, you can end up overdoing it. You may forget the correct posture and form, and the strain could cause an injury.
Be safe, and start sensible when lifting weights. Everyone starts somewhere, so if they look small it’s nothing to worry about. In the long run, your body will thank you and you’ll be healthier for it. Stay safe and injury-free, then the strength will come after.
10. Proper Body Preparation
Getting the right amount of sleep is critical. Sleep is vital for:
- healing & recovery
- weight control
- muscle growth
- mental health
Make sure you’re removing distractions at least 30 minutes before going to bed. This includes any bright lights, noises, and electronic devices.
When working out, make sure you’re drinking water before, during, and after your session. This will help avoid cognitive issues, cramps, and fatigue.
Also, make sure you’re eating healthy and getting your micronutrients. You want to get enough vitamin C, D, calcium, iron, and electrolytes. This will help prevent injury, boost your performance, and your general health.
Safe Exercise Tips for a Healthier You
So there you have it! If you follow these top exercise tips, you’ll be sure to stay safe during your workouts.
Preparing your body is as important as the exercise itself. You should give your body everything it needs to perform its best. Take things at your own pace, concentrate, and always follow workout instructions. If you take it slow, in the long run, you’ll get the best, sustainable results.
If you want to get set for a new exercise regime, you start by recording your current weight. Check out our ultimate guide to choosing the best body fat scale for you.