A Safe and Balanced Workout

Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cwc, cns

January will be here before you know it! As you consider your fitness for the upcoming year, make sure you are using safe and proper techniques in your exercise program.  There are many things to consider as you start a new workout program; or if you have been working out for awhile and are not seeing results.

Make sure to have a properly balanced program: a good program will include not only cardiovascular work, but also strength training, flexibility work, core work and balance. It is important to work all of these components for the best results. Also, it is critical to work opposing muscle groups. For example, pushing muscles and pulling muscles work together in our bodies and both must be addressed. We all spend quite a lot of time driving and working at our desks. This creates tension in the muscles of the neck and back due to the “forward lean”. It is important to balance out that tension with the appropriate exercises to help avoid a chronic issue or injury.

Be aware of intensity issues and proper progression. People often start working out on their own, hitting it really hard in a spurt of enthusiasm. This can lead to injury and then getting side-lined. There is no reason that you cannot reach your fitness goals without doing a high intensity workout all the time. If you injure yourself or even get too sore, it is counterproductive. If you are constantly sore from your workouts, your body is struggling to cope with inflammation, which is not healthy. Constant and severe soreness also leads to withdrawal from regular exercise.

Proper progression means to start out where you are TODAY and slowly, but steadily increase intensity. You have to give your bones, joints and muscles time to adjust to the challenge of the exercise. Warming up properly before any exercise is critical, as is stretching afterwards.

The variety of exercises is also very important. If you are continually doing the exact same movements, your body adapts accordingly and you will cease seeing gains. You want to be moving your bones and joints in different planes of motion to mimic how we move throughout the day. If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you could set yourself up for repetitive strain injury.

As you can tell, there are multiple facets that go into designing a safe and balanced workout. If you would like to learn more about how we can set you up with an appropriate fitness program, please give us a call to schedule a free consultation.

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