Get Up And Exercise! by Derek Carroll
When I was a teenager, I began to develop an obsession with sports. This obsession was one I could not shake off: All I wanted to do was to play new team sports. At one point during college, I did let up a bit, although I did remain active by walking or biking to school even if I was up all night clubbing.
Exercising is Good for the Soul
I developed an affinity with exercising because of the way it made me feel.
• I felt that I could do anything when I put my heart to it
• I became more confident — looking good makes me feel good!
• I became highly determined and wanted to do well in all the other aspects of my life such as work and family
• While naysayers say, ‘You can’t do it,’ I now say, ‘I can.’
• Those who exercise become part of a highly elite group of Americans — 16% of the entire population — who work out on a daily basis.
Life’s Obstacles to Exercising
We all know how much time our jobs take away from us. At the end of a long, tiring day, our energy is depleted and all we want to do is lay in our beds. Of course, we continue to eat, so this repeated pattern of inactivity explains our growing waistline.
It doesn’t need to be an either/or proposition with exercising. Contrary to popular beliefs, you do not need to take an entire hour out for an effective workout. 20 minutes of exercising, when done right, can really tone and shape up your body.
Introduce a good mix of cardio and resistance training into your exercise routine.
No time to exercise after work? How about getting up an hour earlier and walking to your office? Simple lifestyle changes like this will go a long way.
No time to hit the gym? Train at home! For strength training, Bowflex dumbbells are your answer. Dumbbells are an excellent choice because they allow you to do full range-of-motion exercises, so you can target just about any muscle group.
Once you hit the big ‘40’ and subsequent numbers, even light exercising can become a form of extreme sports. Injuries are bound to happen if you do not listen to your body. Consult with your body and go for regular checkups. Know your own limits and do not push yourself too hard.
Keeping Your Motivation Level High
When exercising, motivation is one important component. There are two types of motivation:
1. Intrinsic motivation is the satisfaction you get when you exercise.
2. Extrinsic motivation is expecting to reap a reward that comes with exercising
If you haven’t yet found a workout buddy, you will need to find your intrinsic motivation. Here are some tips:
• Work out comfortably by wearing an appropriate sports outfit
• Use protective equipment to safeguard yourself
• Learn the right techniques so you can perform better
• Jazz things up by changing your routines
• Excel by first setting performance goals
• If you are new to exercising, rope in the help of a personal trainer. He/she will guide you on the proper use of sports equipment and help you prevent injuries. Be sure that he/she is qualified by checking with established agencies such as ACE, AFAA, ACSM or NSCA. He/she should also be trained in first aid and CPR.
• Fight Stress! How can you clear your mind of all the stressful thoughts? Simple: do breathing exercises before you workout. Deep breathing exercises can help you to mediate. You will find that everything comes to a standstill. Enjoy the tranquility. Breathe in the energy and breathe out the stress or any negative thoughts that you may have. Personally, I find mantra meditation (chanting) to be the most effective, and easiest by far.
• When you find that you lack motivation, use visualization. Visualization is a method used by athletes to envision how they would perform during a competition. This will allow you to focus and power through your workout.
• Exercise DVDs are really popular now. Many have found great success with the P90x workout schedule on DVD, primarily because of the amazing motivational energy of the trainer, Tony Horton. Maybe it could “rock your boat” too!
Two Vital Components of Exercise
While at the gym, you might have scoffed at the other patrons who spend 20 minutes solely on warming up and stretching their muscles. “What a waste of time,” you thought to yourself.
Actually, warming up and cooling down are two very important aspects of exercising, and unfortunately, many do not recognize that.
1. Without first warming up your body, blood and oxygen are not circulated to your muscles fast enough. If you jump straight into a high-intensity workout, your muscles are not conditioned to take the hard-hitting impact, thus giving rise to injuries. Get your heart rate up with a slow jog, and then make sure you stretch the different muscles. Never over-stretch; if you feel pain when stretching this is a sign that you may have torn your muscles.
2. What goes up must come down. Your heart rate and your body temperature need to gradually return to normalcy — gradually being the operative word. This is why sitting down — or dropping to the ground — immediately after a workout is not advisable. If you are going for a run, lower the intensity level 10 minutes before you call it a day. Catch your breath and then give your muscles a good stretch to prevent injuries.
How To Start Eating Healthily
Ask any professional athlete and they will tell you that good nutrition is the key to his/her performance and of course their tapered body. They will also be able to tell you exactly what they ate for dinner yesterday — that is because they keeps track of his food intake. While there is no need for us to keep a food diary, we should be mindful of what we put into our mouths.
Your sugar level will be low after a workout, thus explaining the tiredness you feel. Give yourself a boost by having a sports drink or even a glass of chocolate milk.
Take in all the right nutrients on your off-days to really grow your muscles. A good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat is what constitutes a healthy meal.
Build up your constitution by taking vitamins and minerals.
Lastly, water is essential, regardless of whether you are exercising. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated.
When not working he relishes spending his days with his beautiful wife and two children, appreciating music, new travels and life.
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