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8 Important Things You Should Be Doing When Exercising

8 Important Things You Should Be Doing When Exercising

Naomi Truong
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Home ยป Fitness ยป 8 Important Things You Should Be Doing When Exercising

1. HAVE NO FEAR OF (MINOR) ACHES AND PAIN

One can always expect to experience some muscle soreness when exercising for the first time (or after a long period of inactivity) but these will soon go away as one begin to exercise more regularly. Start out slowly and if one movement hurts too much, switch to something else. If you continue to experience severe pain orr swelling, immediately stop what you are doing.

 

Most people with problems of swelling and stiffness of the bones, joints, tendons and other unspecified aches and pains avoid physical activity because they fear pain. The remedy for this pain? Do stretching.

 

Stretching your muscles helps you avoid stress and injury. Flexibility, that is the ability to rotate our body parts through a wide range of motion is not just for runners, athletes or dancers – anyone can practise stretching to improve flexibility to avoid exercise-related strain and muscle damage. It should be noted that most body parts can and should be stretched. If stretching is done before and after aerobic activity, it may also help prevent or relieve soreness.

 

Therefore, always remember to stretch several minutes before and after vigorous activities, uttilising slow, static movements instead of bouncing and jerking.

 

2. CONSULT DOCTOR

If you are a 40 years above male or female over 50 years old and have the following condition (or combination) :

 

  • cardiovascular risk factors (example : smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or family history of heart disease)
  • suffer chronic conditions
  • never exercise before

do seek medical advice before embarking on an exercise regimen.

 

If you feel chest pain, experience severe muscular discomfort, feel faint or are short of breath during any exercise and the condition persists, consult a doctor immediately.

 

3. NEVER EXERCISE WHEN SICK

While this may be obvious but seriously, do not attempt to “sweat out” a fever with intense exercise. Exercising when sick can lead to a severely debilitating condition knwon as post-viral fatique syndrome, characterised by weakness, increased fatique, frequent infections and depression, which can persist for several months or even years.

 

If you have fever, chills, muscle aches associated with flu or other symptoms that spread throughout the body, avoid all exercise until the symptoms are completely gone. Subsequently, a low return to the normal exercise routine is advisable.

 

However, for symptoms from neck up, for example, nasal congestion from common cold or flu, moderately supervised exercise can be done.

 

4. DRINK (ENOUGH) WATER

The average person dehydrates by 2 to 6% of their body weight during exercise. As you become dehydrated, your total blood volume is reduced and the oxygen-carrying capability of your blood decreases. If you continue to exercise without proper fluid intake, you may experience a drop in blood pressure, feel faint, dizzy or nauseous – symptoms of heat exhaustion.

 

And if you continue to keep going (without drinking water), your body’s ability to dissipate heat is thus further impaired and you may suffer heat stroke. In fact, 80% of heat loss happens through sweating. As such, the most serious effect of dehydration during exercise is the inability to adequately sweat and cool off, which can be life threatening.

 

It is thus important to drink water before, during and after exercise (in order to replace what has been lost in sweat) Water delivers oxygen to your muscles, fueling them in the course of your workout. Without adequate fluids, your cardiovascular system will be strained and the probability of heat injury skyrockets, impairing performance and effectiveness of your workout.

 

So what is suitable amount of water should one consume when doing exercise? Based on the United States Of America Track and Field guidelines, the average person should drink between 400 and 800ml of water in an hour when engaging in most forms of recreational and competitive exercise, lesser when exercising in ‘milder’ environment or intensity.

 

5. WARM UP and COOL DOWN Before and After Exercise

Muscles and joints that have not been used are ‘cool'(not the hipster cool).

 

Here’s how to warm up your muscles:

 

1. Start by walking slowly, then gradually increase the pace over a 5-minute period. If, for any reasons, you cannot walk, try easy cycling or toher activities at a slow and easy paces. doing this gives the body adequate time to increase blood flow to the working muscles and joints and prepare them for harder work.

 

2. Stretch your muscles and bend your joints for 5 to 10 minutes. This warms up your muscles and joints by increasing the flow of blood to them. It makes them more flexible and less prone to injury. Your choice of stretches depends on the type of exercise you plan to do. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and DO NOT bounce.

 

After exercising proper, allow your heart rate to slowly return to normal. You do this by walking slowly for about 5 minutes, which lets you cool down and allow your heart and breathing return to normal levels.

 

Subsequnetly, you need to stretch those muscles which you used during your exercise. You would notice that, after stretching, those muscles will be more flexible and less stiff. For cooling down, allocate 5 to 10 minutes where the cooling down routine are the same as the warm-up exercise.

 

6. DON’T OVERDO

Intense exercises damage muscles and temporarily lowers immunity and because of that, you should not be doing it more than once or twice a week.

 

The signs of over-exertion :

  • Weakness
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Chest Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Increased Shortness Of Breath (which doesn’t return to normal within few minutes)

The signs of over-exercising :

When the above happens, it is strongly advisable to slow down your exericse regimen.

 

7. REDUCE INJURY RISKS

Encountering risks of sprains and serious injuries are higher if we constantly engaged in competitive sports. Though rare, sudden death when doing exercises are also reported but the chances of this happening is very low if one is used to moderate exercises. It is more likely to occur if you do not usually do much exercise, then suddenly engage in intense game of squash or participate in an ‘IronMan Triathlon’ type of race – however, even in these particular events, sudden death is uncommon, where at most, you will just suffer severe muscle cramps or extreme shortness of breath!

 

That said, if you gradually build up doing regular moderate exercise, the potential health gains greatly outweigh the small risks.

 

Also, to cut down the risk of injury, always warm up before any vigorous exercise and be sure to wear the right footwear.

 

8. BREATHE CORRECTLY

Many people tend to hold their breath while they exert effort with their muscles. Concentrate on breathing out while you use your muscles (for example, when you are lifting a heavy object) and breathing in as you relax. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it is indeed the right way to breathe while exercising.

 

We breathe harder and faster during cardio/aerobic workouts, and we need to breathe more if we exercise with weights. This helps deliver oxygen to the working muscles (giving you energy) and getting rid of the waste products more efficiently.

 

Consciously breathing deeply during aerobic exercise helps the development of heart lung efficiency. Active exhalation (the act of expelling air from the lungs) during physical exercise helps the body to increase its maxiumum lung capacity and oxigen uptake. This results in greater cardiac efficiency, since the heart has to do less work to oxygenate the muscles. There is also increased muscular efficiency through greater blood flow.

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Naomi Truong
Naomi Truong

Naomi Troung is a YesMyWellness.com author covering topics such as fitness, relationship, beauty and general wellness and wellbeing issues. She is a certified Yoga teacher from the Yoga Institute in Mumbai India and yes, she is also Muay Thai enthusiast and can been working out her moves at her regular gym.

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