Question: I'm about to get started on a regular workout plan, but I was wondering if there are things I should keep in mind to keep my workouts efficient and effective?
Answer: There are three big things to keep in mind regarding a workout regimen:
You have to develop a plan for success. You must set specific, measurable goals and create a safe and effective program. Think about the following questions when establishing your goals:
- Why do you want to exercise?
- What are some specific goals you want to achieve? Lose weight? Tone and firm?
- What types of activities do you enjoy that will keep you motivated? Weight training? Running? Classes?
- How much time will you commit to exercise?
- How will you stay on track if you miss a workout or two?
Before any exercise is completed it is essential to warm-up your muscles to avoid injury and get the best out of your workout. A general rule of thumb for this is to begin each workout with 5 – 10 minutes of light aerobic activity such as walking on a treadmill, riding a bike, or using an elliptical. This should be followed by some light stretching of the muscles that will be utilized during your workout. There are several reasons for warming-up prior to exercise:
- Increased muscle and core body temperature
- Increased metabolic reactions
- Increased blood flow and oxygen availability
- Reduced risk of muscle injury
- Enhanced muscle performance
Proper hydration is essential for energy production. Water accounts for 60% of body weight and is the medium in which all metabolic reaction take place. Most adults need about 10 (8 ounce) glasses of water per day. For those who are exercising you will need an additional 2 cups of water for every pound lost during exercise. The more you exercise the more water you need to intake for performance.