Before you start any physical activity you should warm up. A warm up allows your body to gradually get ready for your planned activity. A warm up slowly raises your heart rate and increases the blood flow to your muscles.
Your warm up should be at least 5 minutes. Light aerobic activities, such as walking or light jogging are excellent warm-up options. The key is to choose an activity that slowly raises your heart rate and body temperature. Warm-ups decrease your risk of getting injured and decrease post-workout soreness.
After you have finished any physical activity, you should cool down. A cool down allows your body to gradually return to your resting state. A cool down allows your heart rate to slowly lower and the blood flow to your muscles to slowly decrease.
Your cool down should be at least 5 minutes. Light aerobic activities, such as walking or light jogging are also excellent cool-down options. The key is to choose an activity that allows your heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature to return to normal. Cool-downs decrease your risk of getting injured and decrease post-workout soreness.
Stretching is an essential part of you activity plan. Stretching will improve flexibility, improve your range of motion, decrease your risk of getting injured and decrease post-workout soreness.
The best time to stretch is after your cool-down, because your muscles are still warm. Stretching a cold muscle can lead to injury. When stretching, hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds, do not bounce, and do breathe normally.
Breathing is very important when you are resting and even more important while you work out. Breathing provides your brain and muscles with the oxygen you need to continue exercising. You should pay attention to how you breathe when doing aerobic exercises and strength training.
While doing aerobic exercises it is normal for your respiratory rate to increase, because your body needs more oxygen. However, if you are breathing so fast that you cannot carry on a conversation, you should decrease the intensity of the aerobic activity.
While strength training, you should inhale and exhale with every repetition. Never hold your breathe. Remember to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It is also a good idea to exhale as you contract your muscles and inhale as you relax them.
Drinking fluids is a must when engaging in any physical activity. Dehydration will slow you down and cause you to burn less calories. If you are working out for an hour or less, fill a one liter bottle with water and drink it throughout your workout.
If you are working out for more than an hour or if you are working outdoors in warm weather, consider drinking a low calorie sports drink instead of water. Sports drinks replace the electrolytes lost through sweat much faster than water.
To lose and keep the pounds off you must exercise. However, if you want to stay safe and be a successful pound loser, you will have to address other associated activities. Remember to warm up cool down, stretch, breathe, and stay hydrated.