24 April 2008

5 Things You Should Always Do in the Gym

Here are some great fitness tips for you to try today...

1. Warm up properly. The quality and effectiveness of your workout will be noticeably improved if your muscles are thoroughly warmed up. Spend 5-8 minutes at the beginning of your workout gradually increasing the intensity of your walking, running, cycling, rowing or cross training until you feel warm and are breathing heavily. The difference this makes cannot be stressed enough.

2. Stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can lead to a reduction in your performance and your results. Drink a glass of water in advance of your workout. Sip water throughout your exercise routine and then have another glass when you’ve finished.

3. Breathe. Use your lung capacity to the fullest extent. The more oxygen you get to the working muscles, the harder you can exercise and the better your results will be. Be especially watchful when working on your abs - many people hold their breath - breathe.

4. Stay focused. If you’re distracted while you work out, you could be compromising your results. Keep focused on your exercise, the intensity of your workout, how you feel, what areas are working hardest and whether or not you could be pushing harder. Be honest - couldn't you run for another 5 mins? Monitor your performance constantly, challenge yourself with the level of intensity of your exercise and you’ll get the best possible results. Don't ever be the guy/girl who walks on the treadmill chatting on the cell phone.

5. Stretch. Exercise isn’t just about working hard it’s also important to balance your workout with some stretching to correct the imbalances that arise from modern living and to keep yourself injury free. Every workout should include a stretch to open up the chest and shoulders and one to loosen up the hamstrings. These are the areas that get tightest and that cause the most common injuries such as neck and back pain. Here's a great chest stretch to try in the gym next time.

Photograph by targophoto.com (Flickr)

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