Dos and Don’ts of Any Fitness Routine
As with any endeavor, there are things you should and shouldn’t do. Here, I point out some of the more common do’s and don’ts for your fitness routine:
- Do warmup and cooldown. Whether you’re going for a 10 mile run or doing a 7 minute workout at home, the most important phases of any workout are the warmup and cooldown. An adequate warmup prepares your body for exercise by increasing blood flow to your muscles and reduces the chance of injury. Post-exercise stretching will reduce the effects of soreness later and ultimately make you more flexible by increasing ranges of motion and improving mobility.
- Don’t sacrifice form for repetition. Many exercise programs focus on the quantity of repetitions or movements and fail to emphasize proper form. As you reach the point of fatigue, you’re more likely to injure yourself. Focus on proper form for each exercise repetition. Don’t risk taking yourself out of the game by getting hurt and being forced to take time off to recover from an injury.
- Do incorporate high intensity sessions. Workouts should be somewhat challenging in order to make progress, but that doesn’t mean every workout needs to stress the body to the maximum extent. Use the interval approach, alternating high and low-intensity training. You’ll be able to accomplish more by exercising at higher intensities and allowing the body to rest between the bursts of effort.
- Don’t overdo it. Sometimes a rest day (or several days) can be just what the body needs. Most gains occur during rest and recovery times, and days off are often necessary when you’ve been working out regularly over a long period of time. Make time for off days and don’t feel obligated to hit it hard every day of the week.
- Do add variety to your routine. Performing the same workout all the time can be counterproductive (and boring). Vary your approach by selecting different types of exercises for muscle groups, performing a variety of cardiovascular activities, and being open to trying new things. Your body becomes more efficient at performing the same routine over and over again, and results will start to fade over time. Keep things fresh and exciting by adding variety. You’ll find that this will help keep you motivated too!
- Don’t sabotage gains with a bad diet. As the saying goes, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Proper health and fitness includes more than regular exercise. Be smart about what you eat. Proper diet and nutrient intake will better prepare you for exercise and allow your body to function at a higher capacity, even when you’re not exercising.
- Do stay consistent. Consistency is the most important aspect of exercise and nutrition. If you make the right diet choices most of the time, and take part in a regular workout routine, you’ll meet your goals and set the standard for a healthy lifestyle.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. People tend to overthink what’s required to be healthy and fit. No one can maintain a perfect exercise schedule or eat right all the time. When you fail to meet your own expectations, it’s not the end of the world. The important thing is to stay motivated, don’t get down on yourself, and do the best you can to stay healthy.