Work Smarter, Not Harder: The Fitness Edition

Everyone wants to get the most out of his or her workout. For some people this means pushing themselves to the limit in a multi-hour or multi-session daily exercise routine. Although challenging yourself and working out consistently are important to your overall fitness, not all of the work is done at the gym. Many of the things that you need to do to make the most of your workout are done at home and don’t require heavy lifting or an increased heart rate. Below are five activities that can help to ensure that your body is getting what it needs to stay healthy.

 

Drink Water

Your body needs consistent doses of water intake to function properly. Remembering to rehydrate is especially important before and after working out. If you are already dehydrated before you begin working out, your body will have difficulty delivering to your muscles the food and oxygen that is needed when those muscles are being engaged. You will most likely find your exercise routine to be more tiring than usual, and you may not be able to perform as well as you do on days when the body is properly hydrated. Drinking water after your workout is necessary because exercise causes you to lose water through sweat. Exercise also uses the water in your body to transport waste toxins out of your system as they are released by your muscles.

 

Sleep

The internal processes in your body do not come to a standstill when you sleep. On the contrary, the time you sleep is the time your body uses to regenerate and to prepare all systems for another day of activity. If this regeneration time does not occur, your body is not fully prepared for the day, and therefore underperforms as it tries to conserve the little energy that it still retains. Your body will fight you in your exercise efforts, rather than support you, if you do not give it enough sleep. Sleep experts acknowledge that different people need various durations of sleep to experience adequate rejuvenation, but on average, they say individuals need at least eight hours of sleep each night.

 

Get a Massage

Massage is about a lot more than just rest and relaxation. When you start to build up certain muscle groups, those areas can become very tight – restricting your range of motion and sometimes causing pain or discomfort, too. A good deep tissue massage helps to correct this by releasing muscle tension and allowing for better circulation of blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Be sure to tell your massage therapist that you are looking for a “deep tissue” or “sports” massage. This type of massage provides more pressure and reaches deeper down into your muscles. A lighter massage can be relaxing, but may not provide a lot of benefit in terms of muscle recovery. Another great alternative to a hand-given massage is the innovative HydroMassage technology that is offered and included in many gym memberships. HydroMassage uses water to provide a relaxing heated massage in a private room with various settings for the ultimate custom experience.

 

Fewer Intense Workouts

If you take your body to its limits during a workout, it is going to need some time to recover. The three above mentioned tips can aid in this recuperation, but time is also an important recovery factor. Going full throttle every single day may seem like the quickest and best way to reach your fitness goals; but in reality, working out too intensely and too often can actually slow down your progress. Fitness experts suggest two high-intensity workouts per week as the optimum schedule for strength and endurance training.

 

Gentle Recovery Workouts

“Two high-intensity workouts per week” does not translate to “five days of lounging about and remaining sedentary”. Your high-intensity workouts should be paired with less intense workouts that allow for muscle regeneration, while keeping you active and moving. Choosing to bring your workout down a level in intensity can be as mentally challenging as choosing to kick it up a notch. However, if you can build the mental fortitude to follow a smart exercise plan, you will soon be able to see and feel the benefits.

Smiling: Your face’s favorite workout.

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