Tips to help make daily exercise just routine

 

My Top Tips to help make daily exercise just routine:

When you plan your week ahead schedule your exercise like other commitments.

To keep sessions interesting don’t be afraid to mix things up. Different types of exercise such as squats, lunges, deadlifts or climbing uphill on the treadmill challenges different muscle groups. Research also shows this is the best way to keep fit and develop endurance and muscle mass.

Short of time one day? No problem – make it quick but intense; short bursts of exercise can be just as effective as a longer workout.

Try something new. In the summer, why not go for a kayak paddle? Winter is a great time to try cross-country skiing. All physical activity counts as exercise.

Busy gym – no sweat – many of us can only train at the busiest times, but even in a crowded gym there will always be a piece of equipment or an area available. The key is not to hang around or be wedded to a particular sequence of exercises that might hold you up and waste precious time.

  • Develop an ‘exercise toolkit’ of tried and tested exercise protocols to slot into what’s available: Tabata, HIIT, timed sets, to name but a few.
  • These should also range across the main movements targeted in each workout, i.e. the main compound movements. So, if the gym is busy you have options, with exercise variants of these movements; for example, if the squat rack is taken, then grab a kettlebell for goblet squats or overhead squats.
  • An exercise toolkit allows you to maximise your time efficiently, even in a busy gym.

Remember, it’s not the time in the gym that counts, but the percentage of the time being active. Fitter individuals will be doing more in a shorter space of time, no matter how crowded the space may be.

If you really find it hard to keep motivated long enough to create a routine, find an exercise buddy, so you can help motivate each other. Or consider a consult with a Personal Trainer. You don’t need to commit to the time or expense of regular meetings, but a one-time consult can be informative and motivating; for example, let’s consider the importance of maintaining freedom of movement:

Why to make time to stretch

Stretching can be useful if you lack flexibility and a range of movement of a joint. A short or tight muscle can limit mobility, with, for example, problems around squatting very common, often due to a lack of flexibility of the hips or ankles.

When a muscle is shortened, it will also start to pull joints out of proper postural positions, leading to pain and discomfort, while the more limited range of movement will also lead to a decrease in force output, as the muscle will not be able to function properly. In such a case further injury can also occur.

Performing some simple static stretching on the targeted area can help, by taking the muscle to end range. However, when performing stretching it is vital to do so when relaxed. Don’t try to force a stretch, as this will lead to discomfort and may even prove counter-productive. For a muscle to relax and lengthen, you must to be relaxed. Deep breathing can help, as well as foam rolling, which is essentially a self-massage. The aim is to roll onto a tight muscle, either slowly to target trigger points, or slightly faster to get some blood flow into the muscle. It’s essential to relax your body to help the muscle relax, so once again focus on your breathing.

Never be afraid to approach a Personal Trainer – just don’t expect them to give away all their secrets for free!

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Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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