1. Keep Your Body Fueled
It is extremely important to eat about 1 to 2 hours before working out so that your body is fueled up and you don't become weak. A somewhat common misconception is that if you don't eat before working out you will burn existing fat. However when your body is hungry while working out you may become nauseous and lack the energy to really give the workout your all, therefore burning less calories.
On average you should intake between 100 to 200 calories one to two hours before engaging in exercise. Large amounts of protein and fat should be avoided since they take longer to digest. Staying hydrated is crucial so it is a good idea to bring a water bottle to place beside you while working out.
2. Warm Up Before You Stretch
Everyone knows how important it is to stretch before working out, but did you know that you should warm up before you stretch? When you start your workout with stretching you are stretching cold tight muscles and will actually place yourself at a higher risk for injury.
You should always warm up for 5 to 10 minutes with light aerobic exercise, such as jumping jacks or jogging, to help warm and loosen muscles. After warming up you can begin stretching to prepare for your workout.
3. Be a Stickler For Technique
By far the easiest and most common way to get injured while working out is having bad form. Make sure to research the exercises you take part in to learn the proper form and not just fall into what's the most comfortable. Don't mimic the people around you, if you have questions about form seek professional advice from a trainer or watch videos about proper form online.
Remember to focus on the muscles you are working and to keep them engaged. When starting off it may help to exercise in front of a mirror, most gyms will have them on the walls, so that you can visually check your form during your workout.
4. Don't Push Yourself Too Hard
One of the most important elements of working out is listening to your body and knowing your limits. Start with low impact cardio such as power walking, swimming, or cycling. Slowly work your way into more high impact exercises as your body builds up strength and endurance.
Allow yourself time to rest. Our bodies need time to restore after exercise. Don't be afraid to take 1 or 2 days a week off so that your body can recoup.
5. Cool Down
Cooling down is essential to avoid injury after any type of exercise whether it be running or weight training. Spend a few minutes at the end of your work out gradually lowering the intensity until you're stopped. After you have stopped stretch the muscles that you've worked on again which will further help prevent soreness, strains, and pulled muscles.
Peter Hinz owns Hinz Family Chiropractic, which is a Franklin TN Chiropractor. Dr. Hinz is State Licensed and a Certified National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Practitioner.