The New Year brings with it all the potential and excitement, which inspires many to undertake new resolutions and projects of all kinds. The top contenders are typically losing weight and getting in shape. The holiday season for many tends to decrease the activity level while increasing the time spend eating and partying. So the dreaded January comes around and everyone is ready to get to the gym and start over. So while I encourage you to get out and exercise, I do want you to consider creating the optimal and well-rounded fitness program for YourSelf.
Personally, I believe that movement and exercise are essential to our Well-Being, there is no rule that says that it has to be dreadful, painful, or not fun! I am a big advocate of FUN ways to get your blood pumping and feeling great. I’ve been a big Yoga fan and am looking forward to discovering a new local studio. But I’ve also been inspired to try a new exciting activity….Hula-Hooping (with music and dancing, of course!). I also enjoy hiking, swimming, and my on-again-off-again love/hate relationship with running.
So as you take off on your own, or join with a fitness buddy, here are a few things to think about:
1. Remember to rest. While majority of people suffer from lack of exercise, once they get started and stick with it, some people tend to overdo it with excessive intensity and/or frequency, considering majority of us are not world-class athletes. During continuous exercise, the strength and endurance increase over time; however, there is a certain amount of stress that takes place in the body. So if you continue to intensify your exercise regimen, it is vital to reduce the frequency to give the body enough time to recover in order to fully recuperate and reap the benefits of a healthy, long life.
Short story: Perform high intensity exercises three times a week. On the other days, do lower intensity activities, such as walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, and stretching.
2. Listen to your body. Motivation and commitment to exercise are very important and key to success, but it is important to honor how your body is responding to your disciplined regimen. Over-training can not only lead to overexertion or fatigue, but it can also lead to injury, which otherwise could have been prevented. It is great to push yourself to meet the challenge, but do so cautiously as you listen and learn what your body can and cannot do.
Physiology side note: Fast-twitch muscle fibers used in high intensity exercise activities take approximately 48 hours to fully heal, which is twice as long as slow-twitch muscle fibers used during slow activities.
You are supposed to feel energized after your workout; if not, you may be overdoing it.
3. Mix it up. Aim for a balanced workout that will allow you variety and keep it interesting and FUN! With any kind of exercise it is important to consider your core, a large group of 29 muscles, not only in the abdomen, but also the back and pelvis, are your foundation for movement of the whole body. Keeping the core strong will help support, stabilize, and balance the spine and the rest of the body, while keeping it less prone to injury; Yoga & Pilates are great at strengthening the core. As a chiropractor, I see a lot of patients who suffer from needless back pain due to weak core musculature.
Fitness examples: interval training (short bursts of high-intensity exercise alternated with small recovery periods of rest); strength training of different muscle groups each day with weights that will exhaust your muscles in 12-15 repetitions with up to 3 sets; and always remember to stretch to bring blood flow to your muscles to warm them up and increase the elasticity of the muscles and joints.
So consider these approaches to your optimal fitness program that will allow you to further embrace your healthy habits in the New Year and encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle for life! I’m cheering for you and remember to have fun!
I would love to hear what changes you have made and how your progress is coming along, so please share in the comments below.
Be healthy & happy, Dr. Tijana
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