Did you know…
Thirty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise three to five days a week can have incredible effects on your health in so many ways beyond weight loss. Even naturally skinny people should lead an active lifestyle to maintain optimal health.
Warm-ups are always important regardless of the exercise you are doing. A good warm-up can greatly decrease the risk of muscle injury as well as other issues, such as sudden rises in body temperature. Be sure to take a few minutes at the beginning of your self-workouts to gradually raise your body temperature and limber your muscles. Arrive to classes on time so you don’t miss the warmup—and if you do happen to miss it, do one on your own until you are warm enough to join the rest of the class.
Stretching is an incredibly important, and oft overlooked, aspect of fitness. Don’t skip out on stretches either in your own workout or group classes. I often see people pack up and leave when the instructor gets into the stretching wrap-up at the end of a class. Don’t cheat your body. You muscles and joints need stretching to increase their range of motion and ability to perform. Unlike aerobics or strength training, you can do a good stretch routine every day and still get benefits.
Strength training is good for pretty much everyone: men, women, the elderly, etc. The intensity and type should obviously be tailored to fit the individual’s needs and goals, but increasing muscle strength is always a good idea. Remember, strength training is not limited to lifting weights—there are many ways to get stronger. Make sure you alter your routines so you don’t plateau. Try not to work the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
Diet soda is still bad for you. So are most “energy” drinks. Take a look at how much sugar is in those things. Water, on the other hand, is always a good choice. Many people are constantly dehydrated and don’t realize it. Keeping a water bottle with you at all times is a great way to remind yourself to drink more water and less sugary or caffeinated drinks.
Carbs are good for you. They are actually essential to a healthy diet and having appropriate energy. You just want to emphasize the “complex carbs” (i.e. vegetables, whole grains, beans), and not “simple carbs” (i.e. sugars).
Fitness is ongoing. You can’t just get your body to a level of fitness and expect it to stay there without work. If you discontinue training, your cardio capabilities can decrease in as little as two weeks. Muscle strength can start to decrease after two to three months of decreased training. On the other hand, your body will constantly adapt to new work you give it—it is ready to improve if you ask it to.