Check out any health article you can find, and all of them will be encouraging you to stop being a couch potato and get out there to exercise. And that’s because there are a ton of benefits to getting your body moving. Especially in these hard times when people’s movements continue to be limited by the pandemic, exercising can help improve immunity against diseases that afflict a huge percentage of the population, such as diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, and certain types of cancer.
And when you’re feeling like your mental health is taking a turn for the worse? Working out can release happy hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which help relax you and give you positive vibes throughout the day.
Remember, no one is forcing you to work out. But if it comes down to choosing whether to work on your health now or deal with the consequences later, choose the former. The cost and effort of exercising now will far outweigh the cost of the hospital bills you will be paying in the future when you have to deal with numerous health issues. So if you finally have decided to get moving, what are some things you should be taking note of to maximize your efforts in exercising? Check out the tips below.
Not everyone wants to look like a bodybuilder after exercising for quite some time. Everyone has different fitness goals, so when it comes to exercising, it’s recommended that you make a plan before diving headfirst into this endeavor. Are you working out to improve your endurance? Strength? Flexibility? Lose a healthy amount of weight? Take the time to sit down and think about what your goal is for working out, and then make a realistic plan.
Schedule when to do your workouts and what kind of workout you’ll be doing, and then do it. Make it a habit. In the case of exercising, consistency is key. Don’t keep making excuses to skip a planned workout by saying you’ll double or triple your effort next time. Start small and build up to a routine.
Hydrate: Before, During, After
Staying hydrated throughout the day is always important, but it becomes doubly so when you’re exercising. All that sweating from moving your body and exerting yourself? Yup, that needs to be replenished to avoid dehydration. So make sure to drink up before, during, and after your workout session.
Taking all that fluid ensures your performance is at its best, you lessen the risk of heat stress, and it helps you recover faster for your next workout session. Consider investing in a water bottle with reminders for how much water you’ve drunk or have reminders set into your phone to keep you up to date on your fluid intake.
A large percentage (some say up to 80%) of your fitness journey is affected by the food you eat. As some would say, “You can never outrun a bad diet.” Just because you’re sweating it out in the gym or moving your body through dance routines doesn’t mean you can go pig out on pizza or sweets or chips post-workout. It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.
The food you eat is the fuel your body uses to keep functioning. And a lot of the nutrition we need comes from healthy carbohydrates, which give us the energy to move, and protein, which helps repair the muscles that have been worn down during your workouts.
Many of the sugars from processed foods offer little to no nutritional value and contribute to your calorie intake. Oversupply of calories in your body contributes to body fat. So you are essentially self-sabotaging when you turn to eating all these processed food after you exercise.
Keep your eyes on unprocessed carbohydrates such as fibers (wheat, oats), fruits, and vegetables. Consider supplementing your normal protein intake with whey protein supplements, which help you increase your strength and lose significant amounts of body fat.
Finally, make sure to listen to your body. Some days you might have more enthusiasm and motivation than other days, and these will be the days you feel like you can push your body to the limit. Or perhaps you think that unless your body is sore and aching after a workout, you haven’t been pushing yourself enough.
However, getting fit and healthy is a long-term effort, not something you can achieve in several months or weeks. Injuring yourself in the process can set you back and be a source of frustration as it hampers your ability to stay on the path to reaching your goals. So be kind to your body; make sure to take rest days, especially when you’re just starting, and remember to enjoy the process.
As stated earlier, there are numerous advantages to making exercise a regular habit. But to get the most out of all the sweat and effort you’re putting in, make sure to follow the advice above. There’s nothing more satisfying than looking into the mirror or seeing your reflection in a shop window and seeing that your efforts are paying off.