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Returning to Exercise

 

Sometimes life gets too hectic and even the most dedicated athletes have reasons for taking a break from their workout routines. Whether you were sidelined with an illness, had family issues arise, or simply got bored, things happen. Maybe your summer has been busy but you’re now ready to make exercise a priority again. Whatever the reason, it’s never too late to get back in the habit. There are a few things to consider before jumping back into a routine after a hiatus.

 

Depending on how long your break was, you may need to work back up to where you were. A few days of rest are encouraged at times to prevent overtraining, so a week-long break isn’t a cause for concern. You may even feel stronger after giving your muscles a break. However, a couple months or even a few weeks will require changes from what you were used to doing.

 

Many people who start exercising again might do so because they feel a renewed sense of motivation. That’s great!  But too much enthusiasm can be a danger. You don’t want to be so excited to make up for lost time that you overdo it. Your strength will not be what you were when you had a regular routine, and you should gradually work up to that point again. If you’ve taken a few weeks off from strength training, it’s best to scale back on the number of sets you do and the size weights you use. Or, start at a slower pace for your cardio workout. Taking the time to progress again will help prevent unnecessary injury.

 

Just as you don’t want to overdo it, you also don’t want to underdo it. The key is maintaining the right balance. If you were running ten miles and took a two week break, it isn’t necessary to go back to walking one mile. How long you’ve been inactive and your fitness level will make a difference. 

 

Another important thing to think about is your diet. You haven’t had to worry about the right nutrition to fuel your workouts while you were taking a break. Once you start up again, you’ll want to cut back on any junk food and tailor your meals to give you enough energy.

 

 However long you’ve been out of practice, don’t get discouraged if you’re not where you used to be. It may take some reconditioning but your body will be able to get back where it was. And you’ll have an easier time getting back into it than when you first started. The important thing to keep in mind is that you’re getting yourself back on track!

 

 

posted Jul 24th, 04:45 pm

Post-Workout Meal and Snack Ideas

 

What you do during the time after your workout is important. Following up with the right foods should be an essential part of your post-workout routine. To help your body recover, it is best to eat within 30 – 60 minutes after exercise. Refueling with the right amount of protein will help your muscles, while carbohydrates will replenish energy stores. Whether you have time for a meal or just a quick snack, there are plenty of options to consider.

 

If your workouts are in the morning, an egg sandwich is a great option.  The egg will provide the protein you need, while the bread will give you the carbs. Sandwiches are also a good choice if you’re working out around lunchtime. Using whole grain bread will make it even healthier. Filling it with lettuce or tomato will add in a serving of veggies.

 

When looking for a protein-packed dinner to follow up with, chicken or fish are great sources. Have a side of brown rice for carbs. You can also opt for a stir-fry. Loading up on vegetables with your meal will add fiber to keep you full the entire evening. This will help eliminate any urges for late-night snacking.

 

Depending on what time you work out, you may not want a full meal. A snack can be enough to provide the nutrients you need to recover. A little yogurt and berries can give you everything your body needs. You can also make your own smoothie with yogurt or skim milk.  Throw in some bananas, berries or whatever fruit you prefer. You can even toss in a little protein powder. Another great snack idea is a rice cake topped with peanut butter or almond butter for protein. Or, try slathering peanut butter on some apple slices.

 

There are also some great options for those days when you just need a snack but don’t have time to prepare one. A mix of dried fruit and nuts are perfect when you’re on the go. Just remember to watch portion size. A small handful will work without overdoing it. A protein or energy bar is another thing you can easily grab.

 

These are just a few suggestions to get you thinking. The key things to keep in mind are keeping portion size in check, and choosing foods that will provide a good combination of protein and carbohydrates, while still low in fat.  But the possibilities are endless. You can still be healthy while enjoying your post-workout bite to eat. And it’s a great way to help your body recover!

 

posted Jul 17th, 02:20 pm

Proper Hydration with Exercise

 

We’ve all heard that we need to drink plenty of water throughout the day. We hear it even more during the summer. Hydration is essential, especially for those who are active. Staying properly hydrated is usually listed on every fitness and exercise guide. But what exactly does that mean? We’ll help you figure out how much water you need and why it’s so important.

 

Whether you’re a beginning exerciser or an advanced athlete, drinking enough water should be one of your concerns. Water helps lubricate joints, transport nutrients, and regulate body temperature. Not being properly hydrated can lead to poor athletic performance by causing fatigue, as well as more serious symptoms.

 

Many factors, such as heat, exercise intensity, or how much one sweats, can affect how much water one should drink. As a result, there are no set rules to follow. However, there are recommendations that can give you a starting point. For moderate to high-intensity exercise, the American Council on Fitness suggests drinking the following:

 

 

  •  2 to 3 hours prior to exercising:  17 – 20 ounces of water

 

  •  Before your warm-up:  8 ounces of water

 

  •  Every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise:  7 – 10 ounces of water

 

  •  Within 30 minutes after exercise:  8 ounces of water

 

In order to get a better idea of what your body specifically needs, there’s a simple thing you can do. Take a couple of sessions to weigh yourself before and after you exercise. The average amount of weight you lose will most likely be fluid loss. You are going to want to replace that loss of fluid during the time you exercise. For every pound of body weight that you typically lose, drink 16 to 24 ounces of water. You can increase this number if you are exercising in hotter temperatures or at a greater intensity than you are used to doing. If you find that you are gaining weight right after your session, it can signal that you are drinking more than you need. 

 

Some people wonder about the benefits of hydrating with sports drinks. Water is typically the best way to replace fluid loss for the average person. You usually don’t deplete your store of potassium, sodium, or electrolytes, that sports drinks help replenish. However, you might want to consider one if you’ve been exercising at a high intensity for longer than 60 minutes.

 

It’s important to remember that you need to keep drinking as you exercise, and not just when you feel extra thirsty. This will help prevent you from experiencing dehydration, when your body does not have enough water to work properly. Fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, and a stop in sweat can be warning signs of dehydration. More severe symptoms can be mental confusion and weakness.

 

Another thing to be aware of, although rare, is hyponatremia. This is when the body has too much water and not enough sodium. It is a result of drinking extreme amounts of water and, like dehydration, it requires medical attention.

 

The important thing is to keep drinking water with these recommended guidelines in mind. Always have a water bottle handy at the gym or outdoors, especially during these hot summer months. It will help you properly hydrate and have your body performing at its best as you exercise.

 

 

posted Jul 10th, 04:39 pm

10 Outdoor Fitness Safety Tips

 

Whether it’s at the beach, in the water, along a trail, or just around the neighborhood, many people take their workouts outdoors. Not only is it good to get out in the fresh air, it can be a fun change of pace. But you can be exposed to a lot more elements than you’re used to when you’re exercising in a controlled environment, like a gym. Since July is usually the height of hot weather, it’s always smart to remind yourself of the ways to stay safe as you head outside to get fit. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind.

 

1.) Always keep an eye on the weather report. Pay attention to the temperature and exercise indoors during periods of extreme heat. It’s also important to avoid air pollution. If you live in a city where this is of special concern, your local weather report should provide an Air Quality Index. You’ll probably want to head indoors if the levels are over 100.

 

2.) Watch the clock. It’s best to avoid peak sun hours or scheduling your workout between 10 am and 2 pm. Early mornings or around dusk are the ideal times.

 

3.) Allow your body to acclimate to the heat. When you’re used to working out in the comfort of an air-conditioned gym, the weather can take a little getting used to. Keep your workout a little lighter until you adjust to the hotter weather. Listen to your body and head indoors if you’re feeling dizzy.

 

4.) Reach for sunscreen and make sure to apply it before you leave home. Consider a sport sunscreen that is more effective while you’re working out and sweating.

 

5.) Select the right clothing to wear. You need protection from the sun’s rays and darker fabrics are better for this than lighter ones. However, they also add more heat. If possible, opt for sun-screen treated fabrics that are moisture-wicking, cool, and light in color and weight.

 

6.) Protect your eyes with quality sunglasses. UV rays contribute to various eye problems, like glaucoma or cataracts. The best way to protect yourself is to make sure your sunglasses have UVA and UVB protection. You’ll want a pair that offers protection from the light on all areas surrounding the eyes, including the top and sides.

 

7.) Use the right shoes. Your feet will need different support if you’re planning on hitting the trails or rocky terrain. They will also need additional padding if you’ll be walking on concrete or surfaces that don’t provide as much give. Just make sure your footwear is appropriate for the type of exercise you have planned.

 

8.) Protect your head. The scalp is often neglected during an outdoor workout because people forget or don’t think it’s necessary. That area of the body can still burn. Apply sunscreen on any exposed areas of your hair part or where hair may be thinning. If possible, wear a hat.

 

 

9.) Stay hydrated.  Drink water before you go outside and always make sure you bring a water bottle with you. Continue to drink throughout your workout, and not just if you’re feeling thirsty. This will prevent dehydration.

 

10.) Be safe during the late hours. If you decide an evening workout is better, take a few precautions. Apply insect repellant to ward off bug bites. It’s also a good idea to have a workout buddy with you if it’s after dark.

 

Keeping all these things in mind will help you take advantage of the fresh air and give you more enjoyable workouts! 


 

posted Jul 3rd, 04:43 pm

Protect Joints While Exercising

 

Exercise is beneficial for numerous reasons, but it does come with a small risk of injury. The joints can be one area of concern. Yet, that’s definitely not enough reason to forget working out. It just means that precautions should be taken to minimize the risk.

 

There are a variety of reasons that can cause one to sustain injury and add stress to the joints. Certain health conditions can increase the risk and require special consideration. Those are best discussed with a doctor. For now, we’ll just focus on the simple reasons that can easily be prevented.

 

Beginners or those who are starting a new program are more susceptible to joint issues. The desire to start strong is usually high. You have to make sure you give your body time to adapt to a new program. Our body usually sends us warning signals if we’re doing more than we should. For example, a rapid heart rate can indicate we may need to slow down. However, our joints provide little indication that we need more time to adapt until days later. That’s why we need to be aware and start gradually. Allowing oneself to progress will minimize stress on the joints and prevent unnecessary aches.

 

Another reason why beginners experience problems is because of improper form. Even something as simple as riding a stationary bike can add stress to the knees if the seat is improperly positioned. Taking time to learn the correct techniques is something everyone should do.  If you’re unsure of anything, don’t hesitate to ask for help at the gym or from a friend. Keeping yourself informed can eliminate unwanted stress.

 

An additional rule to follow is to never skip a warm up or cool down. Warmups prepare the body for activity by increasing circulation to the muscles and joints. Cold muscles have a harder time absorbing shock. If your muscles are warm, they’ll feel less stress on impact. A cool down is necessary because it helps joint mobility and prevents the stiffness you would otherwise feel.

 

Variety is another key factor in preventing joint problems. In fact, these problems are most commonly caused by overuse and repetitive motions. Switching up your program is one way to help this. Making sure you focus on your body as a whole, working all your different muscle groups, will also prevent you from overtraining one specific area. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you have some low-impact exercises in your routine so you are not only performing high-impact exercises.

 

Along the same line, it’s important to include a rest day. Your body needs time to recover and your joints will thank you for this. It’s a good idea to include one or two rest days per week. Always listen to your body and take longer if needed.

 

Proper footwear is another thing to consider. Some shoes are designed for specific purposes, so make sure you are getting the support you need from your footwear.  It can be expensive, but think of it as an investment in your health.

 

Keeping these ideas in mind will minimize the stress on your joints, as well as any pain associated with it. If you do find yourself experiencing minor aches, it can be managed with magnetic therapy. Magnetic therapy is available in a variety of styles for targeting different areas of the body, and can provide relief. It’s important to take the precautions to protect your joints so you can remain active and keep exercise a part of your regular routine.

 

 

posted Jun 26th, 04:30 pm


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