Slow and steady

Tags: Good Living
Slow and steady
Winter is nearly over and we start shedding the layers of warm clothing we have been using over the past few months. As we have also been eating food that helps us deal with the cold, a lot of us may realise that we need to get back into shape and fast! But before you jump in to an exercise routine, it is very important to make sure that whatever you decide to do is something your body can handle and that you avoid injury. If you end up getting injured, it may be double jeopardy for you may yourself to be out of shape and unable to exercise.

So how can you avoid getting injured? The easiest solution is to use professional help and supervision. If you don’t know how to start an exercise programme or progress to that next level of anaerobic/aerobic exertion safely, a personal trainer or coach is the perfect option. They can give you safety tips and progressions to either get you started or accomplish your goal without getting injured.

There are a few tips which will ensure that whatever you do will help you complete your exercise regimen. First and foremost, irrespective of what workout you do, it is always good to warm up. It is never a good idea to workout muscles that are cold. Make sure you are warming up your body to increase your body’s core temperature, blood flow to the working muscles, and also to mentally prepare yourself for the workout.

I have always maintained the most important muscle we have for getting fit is the one right between your ears. It is very important that you stay realistic and be very smart when it comes to working out. Just because you could do a specific exercise 10 or 20 years ago, doesn’t mean you can exercise with the same speed and energy today. Be realistic about your training and not focus on what you use to do. “Too much, too soon” can be the number one reason why injuries occur. Gradually increase your time and the intensity of your workouts to prevent those nagging injuries.

What you eat and drink is as important as your workout routine. Eat a balanced diet and hydrate. What you eat and drink is just as important as your workout. Not only will carbohydrates give you energy for your workout, they will replenish those glycogen stores for your recovery and for the next workout. Work with a sports nutritionist to understand when, how much, and what foods you should be eating to keep you healthy and energised for your workouts.

I am sure by now you must have noticed that the constant theme of this article is balance. Always make sure that you don’t neglect different parts of your body especially the core. If you enjoy cardio, add strength training and core work to your routine. Having a strong fit body is a great way to keep the injuries away. If your muscles are balanced with a strong core then your body will not wear down or have to compensate for being weak or tight.

Listen to your body with rest and recovery. Your body will give you the signals you need to know when to back off. If that knee is feeling a little achy, your soreness lasts for more than the recommended 24 to 48 hours, then it is time to look over your exercise routine. Rest and recovery might be what your body is looking for. Make sure you take those rest days as your body is making actual gains during this time.

(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)

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