5 ways to succeed | TheUnion.com

5 ways to succeed

1) Get expert advice: You must know where you are physically when beginning. Having a physical performed by your doctor is a good idea, along with an assessment of any physical limitations. You may also want to get help from a fitness trainer. Certified trainers, such as the American Council on Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine, ensure quality and currency on the latest fitness and health information.

2) Set realistic goals: Exercise helps control weight, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, tones and builds muscle, improves appearance, and is great for your overall heath and well-being. Set realistic goals when starting a new exercise routine. There are two types of goals – behavioral (what you are going to do) and outcome (what you want to accomplish). Without goals, you can easily become disappointed and quit.

With regular exercise and careful eating, a person can safely lose one to two pounds per week. Plus, both men and women can experience a 20 to 40 percent increase in strength after several months of training with as little as two to three sessions per week. Changing old habits is challenging.

Some experts believe it takes 21 consecutive attempts to make a habit, or at least seven to 10 weeks. Research indicates individuals who start right are more likely to continue.

3) Choose the right exercise: There are almost as many reasons to start exercising as there are exercises. When choosing, pick the one that’s right for you. Ignore infomercials promising results that are too good to be true Do something you find fun so you’ll stick with it.

4) Warm up: Warming up only takes a few minutes, increases your heart rate and gets your blood moving. It prepares the body for exercise by lubricating the joints, and it helps make the muscles more flexible.

Warming up makes the workout easier and minimizes injury. Optimizing fat burning requires a gradual warm-up for about 10 minutes because our aerobic system (fat burning system) cannot perform without oxygen being supplied to the working muscle.

5) Always stretch: Flexible muscles are less prone to injury during exercise. Always stretch after your warm up. Stretching cold muscles can cause injury.

Stretching after exercise also avoids muscle spasm and cools the body. During exercise, muscles contract and shorten. Stretching muscles in the opposite direction lengthens them, making them more flexible.

Sources: Art Chappell, Courthouse Athletic Club; “10 Exercise Mistakes You Can Make” by Anton Maartens; “Exercise Adherence Techniques” by EXRX; and “Exercise and Sports Psychology” by Scott McIntosh, ACSM, Personal Trainer, Courthouse Athletic Club.

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