Monday, September 15, 2014

6 Things Every Exercise Enthusiast Should Know

Weight loss and body tips to tone, tighten, and strengthen are the focus of so many articles, magazines, and blog posts. But what about people who enjoy (yay!) or are disciplined enough to exercise on a regular basis? Let's not neglect you! Injuries, plateaus, and boredom can set in wreaking havoc on your healthy lifestyle. I don't want to leave anyone out and I feel that my own experiences can help shed light on important matters that should not be neglected. 

#1 Switch it up
I've stated it before and I emphasize with my clients, changing your routine often is imperative to a healthy lifestyle. Your body is incredible at adapting quickly to what you throw at it. We sometimes don't give ourselves enough credit and hold back with what we can really do. So keep pushing by adding more weight, faster pace, extra sets, etc to improve. 
With that said, people who exercise several days a week have to be aware of preventing injuries. Doing repetitive movements can leave one susceptible to strains/sprains/injuries. Did you know that the sport with the most injuries is high school cross country (girls)? Why? Because there is the repetitive motion of running without enough variation. But studies done, showed that changing up their workouts and adding weight training in for 12 weeks had a huge reduction in injuries. Our bodies need change. 

#2 Stretch
Our bodies also need flexibility. The more pliable/flexible a muscle is, the more strength potential it has (up to 35% more). That's huge! Take time to stretch before and after each workout. This plays a major role in preventing injuries as well. Consider taking yoga, pilates, yogalates (mix), and Piyo (another mix). This gives your body a chance to heal and it proves many benefits on the nervous system. 

#3 Take a break
Every once in a while, it's good to take an extended break. This goes along with stretching. Our bodies need a break. So maybe you take a week off every 3 months, or you have a period of exercising only 2-3 days a week for a month with lots of extended stretching. 

#4 Eat to fuel your workouts
Just because you exercise doesn't mean food is "free game." It's actually more important to eat your fruits and vegetables because your body requires more of them. Think about how thirsty you get when you exercise. It's not just a need for more water, it's a need for more vital nutrients to keep your body working optimally (read my post HERE). If you continue on a poor diet, it will catch up in the form of ailments, and serious ones. No machine that is overworked and neglected, will continue without problems. Our bodies work the same way. Fuel yourself right. 

#5 It's all about the Core
Every movement we make is connected to the core, it is the body's foundation. If you want to maintain a healthy back, spine, flat tummy, improve balance, etc then focus on your core. Balance is vital as we age because it decreases, along with muscle, which is a huge problem for the elderly. All these things are connected. But when you work at strengthening the muscles in your abs and back, the rest of your body benefits and aging is no big deal! (; Athletes don't have a strong core for just the look, it's important for the health, speed, strength, and performance of their bodies. The ability to tie your shoes, trip and catch yourself, throw a ball farther, hit a golf ball straighter, and do things with more effectiveness is connected to your core. 
The core is not just the abs. It involves the entire middle of your body, from front to back and all the way around. How do you strengthen it? Planking variations (see posts I have HERE, HERE, HERE), ab exercises that work all ab muscles (look HERE), and back exercises. Incorporate these and you'll notice better posture, less back aches, better performance, balance and many other things. 

#6 Alignment and Muscle Care
Avid exercisers endure sore muscles, higher impact, and prolonged use of the body. This means along with stretching and taking breaks, there needs to be active care on the body. Things such as chiropractic, massage, hot baths, icing, foam roller, and muscle gel. I incorporate all these things into my routine. 
Chiropractic is essential for spine health. Kick box? All the twisiting, punching, and turning is bound to move a vertebrae out of place. Geesh, sleeping wrong gets vertebrae out of place. Chiropractic is great for the whole body and keeps one in optimal shape/health.
 Massage, who doesn't like a massage?! Overworked and tired muscles do great with a periodic massage. A foam roller is excellent for warming up muscles, get blood flowing in the body, and helps repair muscles like a massage. Incorporating everytime you exercise makes a huge difference in the health of your muscles. 
Muscle gel is great when you are tense and have some pain. Icing is great for injuries, pain, and tendonitis. Icing reduces inflammation and is an excellent way to care for the body. A hot bath can be great too, just for achiness and stiffness. So take advantage of these things to bring more healing and health to your body. 

If you love exercising, please be intentional about adding these things to your routine. Once you incorporate them into your life, you'll realize what you were missing and never go back! Is there anything else you do bring relaxation, recovery, and wholeness into your routine? 

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