Exercise should be a part of your life, especially if you don’t get much opportunity to move around at work. But some people are so keen to start exercising that they end up making mistakes which could damage their health or otherwise injure them.
We talk often about the good exercise can do for you. But it can do a lot of bad, too, if you’re not careful! Here’s how to ensure you’re pushing your limits safely.
Pay attention to your body
Your body, believe it or not, is the ultimate authority when it comes to knowing what’s good for your body. When something is wrong, it will tell you. When you start getting into exercise routines, or have been switching things up or intensifying a current routine, then you need to make sure you’re paying special attention to your body.
It’s normal for some pain and discomfort to occur if you’re doing a lot of exercise (we’re actually going to look a bit more into this a little later), but there are definitely some forms of pain that shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re experiencing chest pains, for example, then something could be awry with your lungs or heart. If you’re experiencing dizziness, then that could be another troubling sign that your exercise routine isn’t doing you much good.
It’s essential that you keep track of how your body responds to your exercise. If you feel that something is wrong, you should visit your doctor and have an in-depth conversation about how to proceed with your exercise.
Get more sleep
Don’t be tempted to cut down on sleep so you can get a few more muscular exercises at night and some more running time in the morning. You may think that sleep is somehow the opposite of what you should be doing if you want to get fitter. Heck, maybe you’re so worried about your fitness now because you feel you’ve been spending too long in bed! But the fact is that sleep is an essential part of your exercise routine.
This isn’t to say that you should have a nap between exercises. The point here is that sleep is what allows your body to rest, repair, and rejuvenate itself. Put simply, it’s during sleep that your body does a lot of the processing it needs to do after exercise. Without that sleep, you’re going to be robbing yourself of the benefits of a good exercise routine.
Some people may feel that exercise is disturbing their sleep routine. You should pay close attention to how exercise affects your energy levels and, thus, your ability to sleep. Exercise and sleep have a strange and sensitive relationship, so make sure you read up on it so as not to disrupt either!
Don’t take “no pain, no gain” too literally
You’ve probably heard that phrase before. And there is certainly some worth to the phrase, as long as you don’t take it too literally. When you start exercising new muscles or pushing others to their limits, some pain a few hours later (often the next day) is to be expected. But it shouldn’t really be anything more than a mild to moderate ache, something that shouldn’t last more than two or three days (with a noticeably fading in intensity).
“No pain, no gain” is better worded as “there’s no gain without pain”. That is to say, success often involves sacrifice and some discomfort. What it doesn’t mean is that you should exercise until you feel pain, because that’s the only way to gain. It’s true that increasing stamina and muscle does require you to push yourself beyond your limit, which may introduce a bit of aching. But if you’re feeling sharp pains during exercise, then something has gone wrong. Do not keep exercising through it. This can only cause further damage, leaving you unable to exercise properly for a longer amount of time.
Perhaps the best way to put it is that the aches you feel should feel a little pleasant – you can almost feel that you’ve done your body some good. If the pain is insistent and intense, lasting more than a week, than you may need to contact a doctor.
Check reviews of workouts
Anyone who’s interested in a new exercise regime, or in developing a specific muscle or body type, will surely come across several types of workouts and even entire workout plans. Sometimes, they seem pretty bogus. Other times, they look a little painful. And sometimes they look entirely legitimate and effective.
Whatever the case, you should take the time to review the opinions of experts and those who have tried the exercise themselves. Let’s say you’re looking at a type of exercise you’ve never heard of before. Don’t just get information from one source – search the Internet for advice. You may find that a particular exercise has actually been linked to spinal damage or something like that.
Entire workout programs should also be researched, particularly because they’re often so expensive. If you can find reviews, then read them. You want to ensure that the reviewer completed the workout regime without any injuries (and with the improvements promised!). You’ll also want to make sure it was worth the money!
Consider a trainer
Personal trainers aren’t just there to yell at you while you exercise. Their job isn’t to look so tough that you’ll be so afraid they’ll beat you up that you exercise as much as they tell you to. Personal trainers are there to help you get to your desired fitness level without damaging yourself.
Everyone’s body is different, so an exercise that might work perfectly and safely for one person may result in less impressive results, and even injuries, for you. A personal trainer is able to assess what you should and shouldn’t be doing when it comes to your exercise routine. This can be extremely valuable if you want to get the most from your routine, but perhaps more importantly it can keep you safe. If you don’t want to invest in a personal trainer because of the expense, you should consider group training sessions or gym lessons.