Tips to help you get the most out of your exercise routine
WITH summer slowly approaching, everyone is flocking to the gym hoping to achieve their ultimate “summer body.” Many say summer bodies are made in winter, but it is never too late to start a fitness lifestyle. However, there are some safety tips you need to be aware of before going in full force.
One way to lose a few calories is by jogging, which will not only help you lose the extra kilos, but will clear your mind too.
“Depending on the intensity, jogging can be effective for losing weight, especially if it is combined with a good diet,” says Michael Coovadia, a personal trainer at Viva Gym in Rosebank, Joburg.
But before you take up jogging, it is important to buy good quality running shoes.
Michael says the correct shoes will help you achieve your exercise goals, while the wrong shoes will hurt your feet and joints.
You might not feel the pain right away, but will feel it in the long run. Visit your nearest sports shop, where they will advise you on the correct shoes for running, gym and everything in between.
WEARING THE CORRECT SPORTS BRA
A sports bra is an active woman’s best friend. It is important to wear a well fitting bra that supports your cup size.
Your bra shouldn’t be so tight that it digs into your skin or too big it doesn’t serve its purpose. After fitting a bra, run two fingers between your skin and the band of the bra. If your fingers do not fit, it is too tight. If you are able to fit more than two fingers, it is too big. If your breasts are spilling at the top, then the bra is too small, consider buying a bigger cup.
Remember, you need to be comfortable in your exercise clothing in order to get the full experience from your session.
A lot of women are unaware that similar to training shoes, there are different types of sports bras for different types of exercises:
TRY TO TAKE AT LEAST TWO DAYS OFF A WEEK FROM TRAINING TOAVOID OVERWORKING YOURSELF
High intensity bras: These types of bras are suitable for high impact type of sports such as running, tennis and soccer. Medium intensity bras: These bras can also be used for sports like tennis, but are mostly for working out at the gym or spin classes. Low intensity bras: These are mostly worn for pilates and yoga classes.
Michael says it is extremely important to warm up before and after your work out.
“Dedicate 15 minutes to stretching before and after your work out,” advises Michael, adding that stretching helps to increase your heart rate and energy levels for the session ahead.
Cool down when you are done exercising to avoid stiffness in your muscles.
Michael does not recommend headsets for jogging.
“You might not hear a car hoot behind you or see other things happening around you. Earphones are safer to use at the gym,” he says.
For example, if you have your earphones while working at the office, you are likely to get lost in the music and not hear someone call you. The same thing can happen when you are jogging.
The only difference between the two scenarios is, one is extremely dangerous. If you feel you absolutely must use earphones, keep the music very low so you can still hear what is happening around you. Earphones can also get tangled around your hands and arms as you jog and become a major distraction. They can also fall off while you are running, causing you to constantly put them back in, which is another distraction.
However, there are modern headsets that are perfect for working out and are not distracting at all. These carefully balance on your ear and the wires are neatly tucked behind your ear instead of hanging in your face. You should also invest in wireless earphones to avoid dealing with cords.
Michael says depending on the time of day you jog, you might have contact with the sun.
“It is a good idea to use sunscreen on parts of your skin that are exposed to prevent your skin from burning. A cap is also good to protect your face from the heat.”
If you prefer to run in the late afternoons, you need to wear shoes and clothing that make you visible to drivers.
Michael suggests a reflector jacket because it is hard to miss. He says there are some hand accessories that are available in sports shops that flicker as you run. These too are great for visibility.
Lifting weights focuses on strength training.
“Picking up weights incorrectly can cause injury to your spine and muscles,” warns Michael.
“Always keep your back straight and don’t take on too much at a time. Again, correct training shoes are important.”
TIPS FOR WORKING OUT
Try to take at least two days off a week from training to avoid overworking yourself.
Jogging or running with others will motivate you to keep going.
When you start gym, don’t be scared to ask the personal trainers to help you get it right.
Don't overdo it when working out as it can lead to heart damage and rhythm disorders.
Remember what the end goal is and have fun and enjoy yourself.