Yesterday’s blog focused on the first five ways to get ready for exercise. Today is the second and final piece of advice on the 10 ways to start exercise.
6. Don’t Do It If You Don’t Love It
The perfect exercise is something you enjoy, according to Gordon Blackburn, MD, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic. He recommends doing something you can fit in on a daily basis and something you can continue doing. Walk briskly, run, bike, use a program like Wii Fit. As the saying goes, it’s all good. Once you find what you love, aim to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your activity. As you get more fit, your functional capacity increases, so you really can do more. If you love your daily walk, add distance and build up speed. If you love bicycling, add another few miles or tackle that big hill. It all adds up, and getting going today will keep your heart going in the long run.
7. Don’t Stretch Too Soon
You probably learned to stretch before exercise in elementary school PE. But science has determined that holding stretches for 20 to 30 seconds prior to the start of a workout actually makes it more difficult for your muscles to perform. A University of Nevada study found that athletes who performed traditional hamstring stretches before working out generated less power from those muscles than athletes who did no stretching at all. For a good-for-you warm-up, do moves that raise your heart rate and promote flexibility, such as a straight-legged march: Kick your right leg straight out in front of you, keeping your toes pointed up. As you kick, reach your left fingertips to touch (or nearly touch) your right toes. Step your weight forward onto your right leg, then repeat on the left side, bringing your right hand to touch your left toes as you kick. Keep going for eight to 10 steps. As for those static stretches from your school days, there’s still a time and a place for them — after you’re done with your workout.
8. Don’t Forget Your Core
It’s no coincidence that core training and balance training are often grouped together. A strong core — which consists of your abdominal, back and pelvic muscles — can function like an insurance policy against balance-related injuries. “When your core is strong, then your protective stabilizing muscles kick in and protect you,” explains Dallas-based Pilates expert Karon Karter, author of Balance Training: Stability Workouts for Core Strength and a Sculpted Body. Studies have shown that taking a holistic view of balance training is probably the most effective route. That means changing up your exercise routine to challenge both strength and balance, and pairing it with core training. Use balance exercises to warm up for things like walking, running or biking. After establishing your balance on one foot (just holding still is a good first step), try raising and lowering your body on one leg, keeping your torso erect while bending at the knee and waist. As you get more confident, add repetitions, go lower, or move your free leg into different positions.
9. Don’t Walk With Weights
Though it may feel like you’re working harder, strapping on hand or ankle weights while you walk won’t give you the extra burn you’re looking for. And it may just increase your risk of joint problems or injuries. To burn extra calories, you would need to carry at least three- to five-pound weights — and that’s a definite no-no. When you swing the weights, it exponentially increases the force on your shoulder and elbow joints if using hand weights, or knee and hip joints if using ankle weights. For people with heart disease or high blood pressure, using weights can also cause a temporary spike in blood pressure. Leave the weights at home and boost your burn by walking up hills instead.
10. Don’t Focus on Appearance
If you can’t seem to muster the motivation to hit the gym, it may be time to rethink your reasons for going. Working out for the sake of how you look can actually discourage you from exercise. Instead of viewing physical activity as a means to a better-looking body, think of it as a way to stay healthy and feel great. Though you will burn calories, melt fat and build muscle, regular physical activity can also reduce stress, banish bad moods, ramp up energy levels and boost self-esteem. So even if a single workout doesn’t give you a Heidi Klum or Matthew McConaughey body, all that sweat and those endorphins can still make you feel like you look almost as good as they do.
source: Cleveland Clinic wellness website