Here are some exercise facts and nuggets – tips to help you get more from your exercise program. Some of these exercise facts and nuggets may be contrary to conventional wisdom, but they work.
- The intensity of your workouts is more important than the duration of your workouts. You can work out for a long time, but your workouts may be ineffective in terms of results. Think of it like this. A person can run a marathon and never get their heart rate above 120. Thus, they are not challenging their cardiovascular system enough to really improve their cardiovascular fitness to any great degree. If you can do 20 push-ups, but only do 10 how are you going to get stronger? However, if your workouts are intense you will get results. Four to five minutes of high intensity interval training is enough to see improvement. Think short, sweet, and intense when it comes to your workouts.
- Stretching is best done after exercise rather than before. Improved flexibility is easier to achieve by stretching when your muscle are warmed – after a workout. Stretching before exercise may actually increase the risk of injury and temporarily make your muscle weaker during the workout.
- Give your body time to fully recover between strength training sessions. Muscle needs time to recover and repair. It generally takes 48 to 72 hours for muscles to recover. With strength training muscle is “torn down” and there must sufficient time to rebuild it before the next strength session. You will see diminishing return if don’t rest properly between workouts.
- For strength free weights are better than machines. With free weights you engage more ancillary muscle groups to execute and control the lift than you do when you use strength training machines.
- Multi-joint exercises are preferred over exercises that isolate a single muscle group. This burns more calories and exercises are more functional.
- Change up your workouts on a regular basis. This keeps your muscles from getting “stale” from doing the same exercises the same way. By changing exercises you will get better strength gains and avoid boredom. If you’re bored with your workouts it’s time to change your routine.
- Do all exercises with proper form. This will reduce the risk of injury and improve gains from doing a particular exercise. This includes adjusting machines (both aerobic and strength training) so that a movement can be executed properly. A seat too low on a stationary bicycle will predispose to knee pain.
- Be sure to exercise your core muscles (abdomen, lower back, and hips). The center of gravity of the body goes through the sacrum and this is where you want to be the strongest. Most activities of daily living involve activating the core muscles (getting out of chair, every twisting and bending motion). One way to improve a baseball pitcher’s velocity is not to improve arm strength, but to improve core strength.
- Good nutrition is a must. Your efforts pounding the pavement or pushing the iron will be defeated if you don’t eat properly. Protein is necessary to build muscle and carbohydrates are necessary to replenish the muscles with glycogen – a storage form of carbohydrates and calories. If you notice diminishing returns with your workouts your nutrition may not be adequate. Post workout nutrition is vital.
Put these exercise facts and nuggets to work and they will work for you giving you better results from your workouts.
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