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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Universal Fitness Tips

Aug 28, 2013 07:38PM

Mindful Practices Enhance Any Routine

When it comes to attaining fitness, several well-regarded recommendations increase the likelihood of success. Natural Awakenings canvassed online fitness sources for tips and techniques intended to keep workouts safe, fun and satisfying. Our favorites follow.
Always stretch – Light stretching before and after workouts loosens muscles and increases circulation for quicker repair and healing. It can also help prevent injuries. It’s ideal to hold stretches for at least 30 seconds, breathing “into” the muscles that are being stretched and inviting a gentle release of tension on the exhalation. If any pain surfaces while stretching a certain area, stop.
Start slowly – Begin and build workout routines slowly in order to avoid straining muscles and ligaments. Exercise at least twice a week, the bare minimum for staying physically fit.
Be well rounded – Add leg and back exercises to crunches and bicep curls, and vary cardio routines to stay enthusiastic about workouts. Experiment with all the equipment available at a studio or gym, asking a trainer for guidance.
Drink plenty of water – Drinking water helps to decrease appetite and eliminate cravings, while nourishing and hydrating the body. The goal is to drink half of one’s body weight number in ounces each day.
Keep it regular – Making exercise a regularly scheduled part of the week eliminates excuses. Keep it on the calendar and show up as dutifully as for any other important appointment. Make up any days missed.
Increase intensity – More intense workouts mean less time spent doing them while achieving the same level of benefits. It’s also important to keep endurance exercises in any routine, however, because they are vital for cardiovascular benefits and building stamina.
Use weights – Adding muscle to the body increases strength, life expectancy and fat burning. To tone muscles, use a weight that works for eight to 12 lifts. For bulk, use a weight suited to four to six lifts. Practice a weight training routine two to three times a week, keeping sessions under 45 minutes.
Add interval training – Sprinting for about 50 yards boosts metabolism and heart health. Return to the starting point by taking a slow walk. Repeat as many times as possible, making sure to warm up before the interval training and cool down afterwards.
Dress up – Energize a workout session and boost confidence by wearing something snazzy. Donning an exercise “uniform” gets us in the mood, and a new piece of clothing or footwear can make us excited to get moving again.
Be a safe runner – Every six weeks, cut running mileage and frequency in half for a week. This allows the body to recover from workouts and helps to prevent injury.
Make it meaningful – While walking or running, recite prayers or a gratitude list, or listen to inspirational podcasts and downloads.
Volunteer for fitness – Many volunteer tasks involve some form of physical movement. It feels good to burn calories while helping others.
Bring workout buddies – Friends and pets need exercise, too, and they provide restorative companionship. Working out with a pal adds support and motivation, which are keys to success. Seek out a human buddy with similar fitness goals.
Go green – Research from the University of Essex, in England, shows that exercising in nature produces additional physical and mental benefits. The researchers found that “green exercise” improves mood, self-esteem, enjoyment and motivation.

Read More: Whole-Being Workouts

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