Many people decide that the start of the New Year is a good time to get in shape. They know that exercise helps them feel better mentally and physically, while also improving their strength, flexibility and endurance. What many don’t think about, however, is that exercise can hurt too.
Most people try to do too much when they decide to start exercising again. Oftentimes
they remember what they used to be able to do when they were younger and resolve to do it again. They might join the gym or an exercise class, and do an hour long workout that leaves them sore the next day. They might then lay off for a week before trying it again with the same results. It doesn’t take long before they give up on exercise – again. But this cycle can be broken!
Here’s a new way to start and stay active.
- Talk with your physician about starting an exercise program.
This is especially important if you are on medications, have a disease or condition that may be impacted by increased activity, or have not been physically active for months or years.
- Start slowly and build momentum.
One of the best ways to start is with just five minutes of exercise the first day and add a minute each day. In a month you’ll be doing more than 30 minutes a day. What’s more, research has shown that the 30 minutes doesn’t have to be continuous to be beneficial. You can do five minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes in the evening. If you’re watching television, try getting up and walking around, or climbing a few stairs, during commercials.
- Build endurance with aerobic activity.
Aerobic activities build your endurance. The word Aerobic means that you’re exercising while giving your muscles enough oxygen for the work they’re doing. You’ll get sore when you exercise your muscles without enough oxygen. Walking, bicycling and dancing are a few aerobic exercises worth trying. Walking is a good starting exercise, as it is usually the easiest, safest and cheapest type of aerobic activity.
The best way to know if you’re doing aerobic exercise is by keeping your heart rate in your target heart range. To figure out your target heart range, take 220 minus you age. Then take that number and multiply it by 65 percent and 85 percent.
For example: A 50 year-old would be 220 – 50 = 170; 170 X .65 = 110 and 170 X .85 = 144. So, to be aerobic that 50 year-old needs to keep their heart rate between 110 and 144 when exercising.
If all this seems too complicated, remember to slow down exercise if you’re breathing heavily and speed up if you’re not breathing deeply.
- Try strength training.
You typically won’t get as sore if you do strength training after aerobic exercise. If you strengthen using low weight and high reps you will likely stay in the aerobic heart range. Start with a weight you can do for 20 reps without stopping. Increase as able each session until you can do 40 reps at that rate. Then, change to the next higher weight and go back to 20 reps and work up to 40 again.
- Reduce the chance of injury with stretching.
There is less chance of injury with proper stretching. Remember stretching should never hurt! Here’s an easy way to stretch:
Step 1 – Move gently into a position where you feel tight, but don’t push it.
Step 2 – Take a deep breath in through your nose.
Step 3 – Let the breath out through your lips in a silent whistle, and the muscles you’re stretching will relax.
Repeat Steps 1 – 3 four times.
If you feel unusual aches and pains after exercising, make sure to schedule a complimentary injury screening at your nearest Athletico location.