8 Tips for Exercising More Effectively

8 Tips for Exercising More Effectively

There are those members that come in and barely get to a point of sweating and it’s off to the showers. Others work very hard and are breaking a heavy sweat by the time their workout is complete. Some members show up as little as once a week. Others are there almost every day for hours on end. But who is right?

Just showing up is the first and most difficult step for many people. Nevertheless, the time spent working out is an investment in oneself. Spend it wisely, just as you do when you consider your financial investments. If it’s worth the time and effort to exercise, it’s well worth making it as effective as possible.

Set a goal and create a plan. Periodically review and improve your strategy for investing in your body and your health.

Each of us is unique. We each bring different abilities and limitations to the exercise floor. We are all motivated differently. We approach our workout routine with our own set of goals and aspirations. Some seek to get a toned body. Others want to lose weight. Some actually want to gain weight. Some want to improve strength and endurance. Some people want to cure sore backs and weak muscles. We all want to come away feeling good, looking good and be free of aches and pains. How strongly we feel about attaining our goals has a lot to do with how hard we are willing to work to attain them.

Each of us needs to learn just what our limitations are. We may be spending a lot of time working out and not getting the desired results. Chances are we are not pushing ourselves hard enough. We may not be choosing the correct exercises or we may be performing them improperly. If you are one of those people that doesn’t seem to be getting a good return on your workout investment, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your strategy.

Here are 8 tips to exercise more effectively:

  1. Look at what others are doing. Join a group exercise class to establish peer relationships. This is a good way to compare notes with others. Develop a sense of camaraderie with the other members in the group.  Look to those in the group that are getting good results. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out their secret. It may work for you.
  2. Establish a regular routine. Showing up at the same time each day makes it easier for exercise to become a habit.  You wouldn’t start your day without brushing your teeth would you?
  3. Exercising once or twice a week won’t do it. According to many experts today, exercising six times a week is NOT too often.
  4. Alternate your activities. For most of us, it’s better to alternate strength training days with aerobic activity days. It gives our bodies a chance to recover. For example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday could be your days to spin or run on the treadmill. Just walking or using an elliptical may suit you as well. Tuesdays , Thursdays and Saturdays could be days you do strength training. Weight lifting or resistance training on the machines are good strength training choices. Some may find they don’t have to follow such guidelines and they can perform either strength training or aerobic activities every day consecutively. Do keep in mind however, that the chance for incurring an injury resulting in a setback is lessened by alternating activities.
  5. Cut down on your break time. If it’s a strength routine you’re working on, pay close attention to the amount of time you spend recovering between sets. Work on shortening the time to the point of almost making it aerobic. Move from machine to machine or lifting routines quickly without allowing too much time between. If it’s an aerobic activity day, push yourself. This is a good time to use a heart rate monitor to record and monitor just how hard you are working. If you don’t have one, get one. You won’t regret it. It’s a really effective way to monitor how hard you are working (or not working).
  6. Make it interesting. Rather then repeating the same routine day after day, shake it up. Try something you haven’t done before. Try to make use of all the equipment available to you. Not familiar with a piece of equipment? Ask whomever is working in the fitness center to explain it to you. That’s why they’re there.
  7. Consider working with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will help you set up an efficient method to meet your desired goals. He/she will get you into a program that will make the best use of your time. A trainer will see to it that you push yourself to your own capabilities without going too far. Eventually you should be able to take what you’ve learned and work out on your own or with a partner.
  8. Learn to listen to your body. Know when to back off. Ignoring a nagging overuse injury can lead to a more serious setback. This becomes more and more important as we age. Downtime caused by an injury can result in a loss of much of what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

This brings us to another question. When are we working out too hard?

If you’re not accustomed to working out, expect to feel sore. Your body will take time to adjust. For some of us, this adjustment comes quickly. For others it seems to hang on forever. Eventually it should dissipate and not become an issue for you. If it doesn’t, a visit to your doctor is in order.

Usually your body will let you know when you over do it. If it’s serious enough to cause a lot of pain, again, you should see your doctor. In most cases, the recommendation will be to back off and rest. If it’s a serious injury that needs further attention, follow your doctors advice. The trouble with this is that too much time spent recovering from injuries can defeat the whole purpose of working out.

Most of us have room to push ourselves a little harder. Be careful, do it gradually. Avoid those injuries that can set you back and slow your progress. Be diligent. Just showing up is good, but it doesn’t cut the mustard.

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