How to Create an Exercise Routine & Avoid Injuries
While we know that working out is part of a healthy lifestyle, starting can feel daunting. In order to successfully start working out regularly, you will need a plan and attainable, personal goals to motivate you. Below, weíve compiled everything you need to do craft an exercise routine that youíll enjoy and stick to. We will also discuss what you can do to minimize your risk of injury while exercising. Keep reading to learn how to start a new healthy lifestyle!
How To Start an Exercise Routine
You managed to get out of bed earlier than usual, packed your gym bag, laced up your tennis shoes, and youíre headed out the door. Day one of your New Yearís resolution is down, only 364 more to go! Unfortunately, most people donít actually make it past the first couple of weeks of exercising before giving up on their New Yearís resolution. ďWhat did I do wrong?Ē you might ask yourself.
The most common mistake people make when starting a daily exercise routine is that they create goals that are too ambitious with little-to-no preparation. Creating an exercise routine can be a major lifestyle change. Itís going to take a toll on your body and your mind, especially if you are not used to it. The following are six tips for crafting an exercise routine youíll actually stick to.
1. Find the Right Exercise
One of the key aspects to consider before starting any exercise regimen is to find what type of activity fits your interests, needs, capabilities, and goals. Take into consideration any previous injury or weak spot in your body. If you have a history of back problems, for instance, golf may not be for you. Speak with your doctor and listen to his/her recommendations for the proper activities for you. For minor injuries, consider an orthopedic brace. The best workout is one youíll actually want to do. So donít force yourself to run if you hate it. Instead, find exercises that you truly enjoy and getting into a routine will be much easier.
2. Start Small
This might be the last thing you want to hear when you are optimistic and full of energy, but aggressively working out every day your first couple of weeks is the surest way to burn out fast. Although you might feel eager in the beginning, the increase in exercise will surely take a toll on your body and motivation.
The best way to implement a sustainable workout regimen is to set small, achievable goals. This will keep you motivated much longer than one big impossible goal. Youíll be surprised by how much progress you can make in the beginning by scheduling just two days a week of exercise. After two days a week for an hour becomes routine, then kick it up to three, four and so on. Building a new habit takes time so take it slow. When your motivation does wane from time to time, remember that is totally natural and try to focus on what you love about working out and the progress youíve made.
3. Respect Your Recovery Period
Understand that your body needs time to recover and that this time is fundamental to your progress. When your body is sore from a workout (which it will likely be with a new exercise routine), your muscles are suffering from micro-tears. When you rebuild those fibers, you begin to strengthen and build your muscles, which is why your body needs time to rest and recover. This doesnít mean you need to shy away from working out if you are sore, but remember to take a day off in between workouts. Remember that the more rested you are before a workout, the more effort youíll be able to put into that workout.
4. Have a Gym Partner
Having a support system to hold you accountable each day can make an immense difference in your motivation to exercise. Ask a family member, a close friend or a co-worker to join you in starting an exercise regimen. Itís a lot harder to skip a commitment when someone is waiting for you at the gym. If your schedule doesnít seem to align with anyone elseís, opt for a group exercise class. Youíll be surprised to see how motivational a sense of community at the gym can be.
5. Warm-Up & Cool Down
No matter what workout you decide to do, your body needs a proper warm-up and cooldown routine. Your muscles should be warm and elastic before any physical activity. A good way to get your blood flowing is through a 10- to 20-minute warm-up that involves light jogging, stretching, simple bodyweight exercises or resistance bands to warm up your major muscle groups.
Once youíve warmed up, increase your intensity slowly, moving from low to medium to high in that order. If youíre running outside, slowly build up your speed. If you are weight lifting, don't start lifting heavy right away; warm your way up from 40% to 90% of the weight your body can handle. And once you are done, remember to work your way down. Your body isnít a high-tech machine with an on/off switch; it needs time to properly cool down.
6. Adapt Your Diet
With an increase in physical activity, your body will crave more nutrients, leading to an overall increase in your appetite. Do not ignore your body since your daily nutrition is key to building a stronger body and making sure you have enough energy to sustain a daily workout. Make sure you are eating enough carbs if you are performing cardio activities and protein if you are performing strength training exercises. Itís also important to remember that your post-workout meals are key to your recovery period. The period of time after a workout is when your body is most receptive to any nutrients you place in it, so it is imperative that those nutrients are beneficial to your exercise goals.
Developing a personal fitness plan can seem daunting, but each tip is crucial to staying on track with your fitness goals. A new exercise routine is no small task, so it is important to take care of your body by providing it with enough nutrients, recovery and support to sustain itself.
How to Avoid Injury While Exercising
Now that you are set up for success itís important to know how to stay safe while working out. Even if youíre a regular at your gym, you may not realize you are doing something that could lead to injury. The following are key elements for minimizing your risk for injury while working out.
Learn Proper Form
Poor posture or form can lead to injuries as well as an ineffective workout. Educating yourself and finding out how to exercise the right way is only a YouTube search away. This simple step can make a significant impact on the quality of your workouts.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is key to staying hydrated during your exercise. It is recommended that you drink at least 16 ounces of water within 2 hours of starting your workout. This will keep you from losing excess fluids and keeping your workout pleasant and healthy.
During your exercise, you should drink water every 15-20 minutes. Itís also best to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as these leave you more vulnerable for dehydration.
Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Weíve already covered this but itís worth mentioning again. No matter how light your workout is, itís essential that you include a quality warm-up and cool down.
A good warm-up should include stretching and some low-intensity activities related to the exercises youíre about to perform. For example, if you are planning to lift weights focusing on your legs, your warm-up should have stretches and movements that activate your leg muscles and core. The internet can be a great resource for finding warm-up routines tailored to your chosen workout.
When you finish your workout, it is important to stretch your muscles again. Doing so can reduce soreness for quicker recovery time. Repeat the stretching exercises from before as well as a slow and steady walk. If you fear your workout will leave you sore, cold therapy systems and whirlpool therapy can loosen your muscles and help you be comfortable in the days after your workout.
Listen to Your Body
When you have strong pain or discomfort while exercising, modify what youíre doing. Feeling pain is your bodyís way of saying somethingís not right. Pushing through extreme pain will lead to a chronic or severe injury. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and modify your movements to remedy the situation.
Everything from your hat to your clothes to your shoes is important when exercising. Protecting your face and body from the sun and weather conditions is one important factor, as well as wearing clothes that allow mobility and comfort. For most exercises, proper footwear is also very important. You will want a pair of sturdy yet comfortable shoes that will not hinder your workout. Find a pair of shoes that fit your specific needs. For example, if you have diabetes, you should buy at least one pair of active diabetic shoes.
Use the Right Equipment To Prevent Injuries
If you are prone to muscle injuries because you suffer from weak joints, it is imperative that you use the right equipment to work out. This means using a knee, wrist, foot, ankle or back brace to provide you with proper joint support to help prevent injuries.
Include Active Recovery on Rest Days
Your exercise routine should be enjoyable and strengthening. After a difficult workout day, take the next day a little easier. One of the best things you can do is an active recovery session on your rest days. Active recovery includes doing low-impact activities like walking, an easy swim, or some gentle yoga. This will help you stay loose and break up lactic acid that builds up after a tough workout. Be sure to pace yourself for a regimen that will stick, and remember to have fun!
About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces, supports, contracture management products, and therapy products. For more information please visit, please visit www.mmarmedical.com.