5 Steps to a Safer, Smarter Workout

Working out has great health benefits like building strength and muscle, improving your mood and, of course, looking as good as you feel. However, it’s important to remember that skipping steps or taking shortcuts won’t get you results any faster. Steer clear of these common workout mistakes that can knock you off your A-game and send you to the sidelines.

Eat the Right Foods

At its core, food is meant to be fuel. Without a great pre- and post-exercise diet, you won’t have the energy to kick butt in your workout and get the results you’re working so hard for. Eating a small meal an hour before you exercise can give you the endurance to work out harder and longer—and help you avoid swinging through the drive-thru on your way home.

Before your workout, eat something high in carbohydrates, like whole-wheat toast for a steady flow of energy or a banana for potassium to help prevent the dreaded side stitch. For a post-workout dinner, it’s a good idea to eat lean poultry like chicken to get plenty of vitamins like iron and zinc. Pair it with a few shakes of salt on a baked potato to replenish the electrolytes lost while working up a sweat. If you worked extra hard, feel free to add a dollop of sour cream.

Remember to Hydrate

Ever felt tired and unmotivated mid-workout or had a headache that just wouldn’t quit? These are symptoms of dehydration, and it’s important to know that drinking water is just as essential as eating the right foods for nourishing your body before a workout. Try drinking eight ounces of water ninety minutes before you start exercising and hydrate throughout the day, aiming for the recommended eight glasses of water. Can’t stomach the taste? Don’t fret! There are plenty of ways to get creative with your H20. Infuse it with fruit or vegetables like cucumber, blueberries and watermelon for a zing of flavor.

Learn the Correct Form

Doing exercises correctly is key to getting the results you want—and avoiding injury! Some quick tips: Make sure you look straight ahead when doing squats to avoid injuring your lower back. When doing hip raises, hold a towel or cushion between your legs to keep your knees from falling outward and to strengthen weak inner-thigh muscles. And use hexagonal-shaped dumbbells as handles when doing pushups to help relieve pressure from your hands and wrists.

Don’t Skip the Stretch

It’s an extra step that can be easy to forget. Take that yoga mat out of storage, because stretching is necessary to recover faster, increase flexibility and improve overall health. Easing your body into recovery poses is also a way to relieve muscle tension and soreness after a great workout. Plus, it feels amazing!

Listen to Your Body

When you’re trying new techniques to amp up your current routine, take it slow and listen to your body. Moving too fast can lead to injuries like pulled muscles, tendonitis or knee pain. While pushing your body is necessary to get results, pay attention to the warning signs like dizziness, fatigue or unnatural pain—this is your body telling you it’s time to take a break.

Unfortunately, injuries still sometimes happen (we’re talking to you, treadmill texters). To get back to your workout regimen sooner, try Wahl’s Hot-Cold Therapy Massager to help injuries heal more quickly by stimulating mitochondria, which are “energy packs” that help your cells function and repair. The massager’s heat therapy helps increase blood flow and loosens muscles, while its cold therapy activates genes that naturally reduce swelling—meaning less inflammation and pain for you.

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