In order to promote optimal health and wellbeing it is important to stay physically active. You often hear the benefits of regular physical activity on the news such as helps control your weight, fights diseases, improves mood and boosts energy. You may experience all of these benefits, however it is important that you workout with correct form or you can do more harm than good.
One of the simplest bits of exercise equipment in your average gym may be an exercise bike. The vast majority of people can ride a push bike however there is a slight difference to working out on a bike than going for a nice relaxed cycle around the country side. This is why not very many people ever get a trainer to teach them how to use an exercise bike correctly as its “like riding a bike,” right? Well that is exactly why you often see people sat on an exercise bike with their knees up around there ears from not adjusting the seat, with bad posture which will lead to back issues.
I have made a list of that you should consider before your next workout which may help you lose some bad workout habits you may have picked up along the way.
Have you warmed up?
Before you do anything have you warmed up? We have all done it, where you walk in the gym short of time and thought I don’t need to warm up. However it is important that you perform a warm up before any workout, and no walking into the gym doesn’t count. Ideally you want to raise your heart rate slightly to get the blood flowing around your body and then perform some stretches to loosen up your muscles and hopefully prevent any injuries occurring.
Will you warm down?
It is just as important to warm down as it is to warm up! People often get to the end of a workout, feel shattered and just collect their stuff and head home. This can have a dramatic effect on your recovery, as there will be a build-up of lactic acid in your muscles over the course of a workout. Therefore it is important to stretch and disperse this lactic acid and fill your muscles with oxygenated blood which will improve your recovery time. This will reduce your soreness while trying to climb out of bed the following morning.
Overtraining is somewhat of a touchy subject in the fitness industry. Often the people who say they are over train actually aren’t, however it is normally down to the fact they have a busy lifestyle and aren’t giving their bodies the resources it needs to recover optimally. For instance you need to sleep properly, ideally getting your 8 hours a day of unbroken sleep. The body is like an engine and it needs fuel to run properly, therefore you need to eat enough of the right foods so that your body has the resources it needs to repair and grow.
Been instructed on how to perform the exercise?
Having correct form while doing an exercise is vital to making your workout as effective as possible. For instance if you are doing weights for example and you only do half a rep then you won’t engage the muscle in the same way that the full range of motion would. This is why it is important to make use of the trainers who are standing around the gym scuffing their feet waiting to be asked for help. They will help you improve the effectiveness of your workouts and help prevent you picking up injuries along the way.
Have you got a plan?
To improve the efficiency of you workout it is important to have a set plan that will take the thinking time out of your workout. It is easy to get thrown off of your workout if you don’t have what you intended to do planned out. I have seen far too often people go into a gym to train a certain muscle group and then half way through suddenly change to something completely different. I also find its can be good to have someone else plan your workouts as they will make the workout more challenging than you would for yourself. This is another reason to make use of a personal trainer.
Becoming stuck in your routine
For those of you who have a set routine it is important to not let your body become comfortable with the same routine week in week out and get lazy. You may think you have the best workout in the world and that may well be the true, but it won’t stop your body from hitting a plateau. I tend to mix my workouts up every 5 weeks as I find it keeps my body guessing what is going to happen next. I will sometimes even throw a few days rest in there randomly as that can have a similar effect.
Becoming dependant on “pre workout drinks”
You will have all seen the brightly coloured bottles of pre workout drinks for energy. I do believe there are some days that you need a little helping hand if you have had a practically stressful day. However some people use them every time they workout and seem to feel as though they “need” these drinks in order to have a good workout. Personally if I feel shattered from a hard day’s work I will have a coffee with a piece of fruit half an hour before doing some exercise and that will be plenty to push me through the workout. It’s kind of like when people say they “need a coffee” to wake them up. Relying on something to wake you up surely can’t be healthy?
Being your own expert
We’ve all done this! I know I have, you think you know exactly what you are doing and you’re the expert on it. Then someone comes along who knows more than you and completely throws your theory out of the window. Everybody is different and just because something works for you doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on your friends and family.
This also applies to when people are feeling under the weather and go on google and become their own doctors. There’s a reason why medical students have to study for 7 years. If it was as easy as turning on your computer and diagnosing yourself there wouldn’t be any need for GPs.