Getting Back into Exercise
Many of us have or will be starting on a new fitness journey once restrictions ease. Re-starting after a break can be tricky and painful if not approached carefully. Age, physical condition, experience and many other factors should be taken into account before you decide to smash records on your first session!
Here’s a list of the key considerations we recommend to all of our members upon joining the team!
1. Get a medical check-up!
Depending on your age and general health, it could be a pre-requisite to see your doctor for a health check prior to starting any exercise program. Any new activity can put stress on your body, especially on your joints and cardiovascular system.
As Exercise professionals, we are required to complete a comprehensive health and fitness screen to ensure you don’t have any critical pre-existing health conditions which could put you at heightened risk. A number of pre-existing conditions could result in a delayed start while we await a medical clearance.
2. Get Help From a Qualified Personal Trainer
If you don't know where to begin, get a Personal Trainer who can get you started safely and help you structure a fitness plan based your objectives, exercise history and current capabilities. Your specialised program could include a combination of muscle building, weight loss and aerobic fitness. A qualified Personal Trainer can help you avoid many bad habits that affect even the best of athletes, allowing you to concentrate on form rather than just weight to achieve your results. Why not check out your options here.
3. Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
When starting out, it is pretty typical for members to throw themselves into training with such intensity that is not only unsustainable but is also harmful (particularly if you’re a male between the ages of 25 and 55!). Always start with moderate exercise of about 20 minutes, 2–3 times per week and gradually build on this baseline week by week. You can also determine your baseline intensity level when you use a system called the perceived exertion scale that will gauge your physiological response to exercise.
4. Warm-Up First
It is common for beginners to jump straight into a session without warming up or stretching. Even if you're in excellent health, your muscles and tendons will be tight when you first get to the gym, particularly if you’ve just spend the night in bed or have been sitting all day. If you don't warm-up, you increase the risk of injury by overextending accidentally or twist a joint the wrong way. Proper warm-up goes a long way in reducing risk of injury and doesn’t need to take up too much time. Try 5 minutes of slow walking, rowing or a cross trainer before hitting the sprints or heavy weights.
5. Never Work Out While on Empty
You are going to be burning calories and building a sweat while exercising, so do not go in with an empty tank! Eat two hours beforehand with the right foods so that you can ensure you have ample fuel for a workout. The same principle applies to hydration. Try to be well hydrated before working out and make sure you take additional sips of water throughout your workout to replace any lost fluids.
6. Dress According to Your Activity
Many injuries occur because of the lack of proper equipment, and this can include clothes and shoes. Regardless of the type of training, be sure that you have the right clothing and footwear for that activity. There's a reason why biking shorts are padded, or why certain clothes are designed to wick sweat. Don’t get sucked into buying fancy brands if you don’t want to pay big bucks. Often price is more an indication of brand positioning than performance. Just get something that provides enough protection against impact, strain, and most importantly, overheating. If you're not sure what to get, talk to your Personal Trainer who can point you in the right direction.
7. Listen to Your Body
"No pain, no gain" is a bit dumb. While exercise can feel hard at times, particularly if you’re pushing your boundaries, knowing the difference between discomfort and pain is important. If you feel any pain, like a cramp or a sudden tweak, slow down and back off. Take a break and re-asses. If the feeling or pain subsides quickly and you’re confident to keep going, try lowering your weights (or speed if doing cardio) and move to another muscle group temporarily. Wait until your body is better equipped to handle the stress.
If you are sick with a cold or flu, stay home! Don't place additional stress on your body. Exercise triggers an immune response since your muscles are taxed by exercise. If your immune system is already low, you can make yourself sicker or prolong your illness by working out. Remember that in the end, overtraining can be just as harmful to your body as not train enough. Always treat your body kindly, and let it rest when it asks you to!
Need help getting started? We've pulled down all the hurdles! Check out your options here...
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