Though routine exercise is recommended by doctors and safe for most adults, there are some precautions that should be adhered to when starting up an exercise routine. To keep yourself safe and on track to your fitness goals, consider the tips below to make sure you are exercising safely and preparing for exercise properly.
There are two types of exercises recommended by the American Heart Association that work together for optimum heart health, and there is a designated combination and suggested amount of time to be spent on each in a given week.
Aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, and jogging is recommended in two different doses. Either 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise five days each week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise for three days each week is recommended. Examples of moderate aerobic exercises include walking, water aerobics, gardening, bicycling at speeds less than 10 miles per hour, and doubles tennis. If you are looking for some vigorous options, try jogging and running, swimming laps, bicycling at speeds over 10 miles per hour, singles tennis, or hiking.
The second type of exercise is strength training, and it should be incorporated with aerobic exercise twice a week at moderate to vigorous intensity. Strength training is a type of exercise centered around increasing muscle mass like weight training.
In addition to knowing what types of exercises to do and how often to do them, it is important to know how to prepare the body for exercise. Ideally, you should make sure you are well hydrated by dividing your body weight in half and using that number in ounces as your goal for how much water to drink in a given day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would need to drink 75 ounces of water each day because 75 is half of the 150 pounds that you weigh. You should continue drinking water during the workout as well. The body also needs carbohydrates prior to exercise as they serve as a fuel source to keep you moving. Try foods with whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Now that the body is fueled and hydrated, it is time to warm up for exercise. A warm-up should raise your heart rate above its resting rate, and this can be done by walking or doing short dynamic exercises like lunges or high knees. Warming up gets the body ready for exercise gradually instead of taking the heart rate from zero to 100.
Even after a workout is complete, there are still steps that should be taken to continue keeping the body safe and healthy. After exercise, it is important to do a cool down to help the heart rate lower from activity level to base at a gradual, safe pace. A cool down can be done by walking and often includes static stretching that should help with any muscle soreness.
The nutrition work is not yet done, either. Your body will need more food after exercise to refuel. Go for fruits and vegetables and incorporate some protein post workout as well. The protein helps to rebuild muscles and can be found in protein bars and shakes for an easy option.
To maintain overall health and wellness, exercise should be a part of a daily routine, but preparing the body for exercise and taking care of it post workout is equally important to wellness. Keep safety in mind by fueling the body with proper energy sources pre and post workout, warm the body up for exercise and cool it down afterward, and make sure you are practicing physical fitness in the right doses.