5 Easy Steps to Starting and Maintaining a Safe, Healthy Exercise Routine

by / Wednesday, 15 May 2013 / Published in Fitness & Exercise

Healthy Exercise Routine

Step 1: Self Inventory

Self Inventory – Seems as though everyone at the gym, out on the track, in the spinning/aerobics class are all trying to get in shape. The real question is get in shape for what? What does “getting in shape” actually mean? Actually, getting or being in shape means different things for different people…different athletes. For the 40 something beginner it can mean just feeling better, feeling stronger or getting good physical conditioning by taking a slow steady approach to exercise. For the 60 something beginner it might mean being able to walk up the stairs. For the Olympic 100 meter sprinter it might mean running a 9.7 second race, for the Weightlifter it may be bench pressing 700 pounds in competition, for the NFL football player it may be torturing your body running endless hills, “gassers” and lifting in the off season so that you can dominate the fourth quarter of a game in January.

The one thing common to all these different athletes is they all rely on having an exercise plan to match the goals of their physical activity. All these individuals can reach their goals by using some general physical conditioning and some more specialized physical conditioning. The general physical conditioning is intended to provide balanced physical training in endurance, strength, speed, flexibility, and other basic factors of fitness, where the specialized physical conditioning concentrates on exercises which are more specific to the particular sport or activity. Some athletes/novices only want general physical conditioning while the combination or general and specialized physical conditioning is imperative to the world class athlete. Let’s look at some important aspects of “getting in shape”.

Step 2: Proper Stretching

Proper Stretching – Stretching is an essential part of exercise and sports competition. Increased flexibility has been shown to improve efficiency of movement, reduce muscle strain, improve posture and generally improve skill in certain sports and physical activities. Practically all sports/and most physical activities require some strength and flexibility in the legs and lower body.

Stretching methods should include: hamstring stretches (toe touches/hurdles stretch), groin stretches, quadriceps stretches, trunk stretches, calf stretches, stretching the muscles covering the shins. Some essential upper body stretches includes rotating the neck or neck stretches, upper back stretches(cross the arms and touch the shoulders with the opposite hand) and lower back stretches (rotating the trunk). Now let’s get moving!

Step 3: Moving Exercise

Moving exercises – Now that we have stretched things out a bit let’s get moving. The most important aspect of beginning moving exercises is to start slow. You’ve done some stretching but your muscles are not warmed up yet. Studies show that many soft tissue and joint injuries occur when explosive movements are executed on cold muscle. So start with slow steady jogging in place, side to side movements, slightly bouncing on the toes or a very slow jog on the treadmill to get muscles warm. Then ease into the activity of choice.

The beginner may only require this slow pace. Obviously the pace and duration of your warm-up must be proportional to the level of physical activity you intend to engage in. Slow jogging and slow side to side movements work for the beginner who is only going to jog 20 minutes on the treadmill but doesn’t work as well for the NFL defensive back who may be chasing a receiver with world class speed on one play and being blocked by a 350 lb lineman on the next.

Warm up generally and specifically in relationship to your activity. After your warm up increase your walking, jogging, sprinting, rope jumping at a steady pace throughout your work out. If your intention is to move to specific, more explosive movements you again want to start them slowly and work up to top speed. One of the most effective movement exercises is jumping rope. 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging! After you start and become good at jumping you can move to using a weighted rope (1/2 lb or 1 lb) and then you can get aerobic exercise, muscular development and endurance with one activity! Be sure to wear proper shoes (high top) and preferably ankle braces to protect the ankle and absorb shock. Again get moving in a manner that matches your planned activity.

Step 4: Weight Training

Weight training – Now that we’ve stretched, got ourselves warmed up and moving… If you choose to… let’s pump some iron! One thing that draws many beginners to a weight lifting program is the promise of faster weight loss. Strengthening the muscles by lifting light dumbbells can help you lose weight – even while you’re resting. Why? Because muscle cells burn more energy than fat cells. They also store sugar as a source of energy for the next time they’re used. The sugar stored in muscle cells doesn’t turn into fat. And the improved metabolism means that you don’t have to worry as much about dieting. Weight lifting boosts your metabolism. Why does an efficient metabolism matter? Because a slower metabolism means you’ll gain weight if you don’t reduce the amount of food you eat. Research shows that dieting alone can actually slow down your metabolism, which just makes matters worse.

The best way to lose weight and look fantastic is to eat a healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, while also using both aerobic exercises and strength training exercises throughout the week. Eat right, spend at least 20 minutes walking three times a week, and practice a simple weight lifting program three times a week. Then take Sunday off – you deserve a break. And with your improved metabolism you’ll actually lose weight when you’re resting and having fun. As with movement exercises, weight training must be done at a steady, measured pace. Ever see the guys in the gym screaming, grunting and yelling to get one rep of 300lbs?  Guess what… unless they have proceeded that with multiple low weight /higher rep sets using varying muscle groups they have gotten any exercise… except maybe they their vocal cords. Lower weight/higher repetition weight training teaches proper technique, builds stamina and strength. Don’t be a “one rep wonder”. Over time you will build substantial strength and power, and avoid injury by choosing lower weight reps increased sets.

Step 5: Equipment

Proper equipment is also essential is starting and building a proper exercise routine and avoiding injury. Cross trainer jogging shoes may be great for aerobics class but not so good on artificial turf. Wresting shoes are great for wrestling but let’s not play any basketball in them! We must choose our equipment in relationship to the type, duration and intensity of the physical activity we’re engaging in. If you are starting a routine and are traveling to your local sporting goods store to get the newest equipment … STOP! Go back and talk to your doctor and tell him what you’re planning. Get his advice. Then go back to your sporting goods store and discuss the specific activity you are going to start. If you don’t feel comfortable with the answers contact a Certified Athletic Trainer or Exercise Physiologist and have a chat. Get good information before you pull out your credit card! Consider The Bodyguard™ compression shorts for performance enhancement and injury reduction.

How will the Bodyguard™ Compression shorts help with your exercise routine?

The Bodyguard™ Compression shorts provide compression , support, muscle heat circulation, strain distribution and impact absorption. Compression reduces muscle vibration and the tissue damage that occurs as a result of that vibration. That tissue damage is the pain that you feel the day after you have “overdone it” a bit. The attaching Support of the The Bodyguard™ results in a considerable muscular torque being generated about the hip joint. This has a performance enhancement and injury-reduction role by assisting your muscles in generating torque and absorbing muscle strain. This support reduces the incidence of groin and hamstring injuries.

The Muscle Heat Circulation is important because it improves your warm-up by raising muscle temperature and maintaining that temperature throughout your physical activity. This temperature increase results in enhanced performance and a reduced risk of muscle injury. The Strain Distribution of the The Bodyguard™ is its ability to absorb and spread the concentrated muscle strain across the entire inner surface of the garment. The spreading of strain is accomplished by the patented Antibody Theory of Stored Elastic Energy Transfer or using the elasticity of rubber to assist muscle. The Impact Absorption of the The Bodyguard™ is accomplished by using a material that’s 1/16th of an inch thick. This material absorbs and spreads impact and works very well in activities with a high incidence of falling or physical contact. The material is light , strong and perforated(has holes in it) to allow the skin to breath. All and all, the The Bodyguard™ is the perfect complement to the human body.

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