The importance of exercise cannot be overemphasized. It plays a significant role in mental and physical wellbeing. Exercise helps to maintain the brain, heart, muscles, and bones in top form. It also boosts the body’s immune system. If you are working on some weight goals, working out can help you achieve them.
Sadly, the number of inactive people in the world today is baffling. In the US, at least 15% of adults are physically inactive in each state, and those estimate ranged from 17.3%-47.7%. Inactivity is defined as engaging in no “leisure-time physical activities” within the last month. Only around one-third of children in the US are physically active each day. Over half the people that begin an exercise regime quit within the first six months. Research indicates that lack of adequate physical exercise is one of the leading causes of premature death – it increases the risk of death by 20% to 30%. Insufficient exercise has also been linked to the increasing number of chronic diseases.
Exercise will be far more effective if the correct procedure is followed. Timing yourself in the gym is good, but adapting a broader healthy routine is better. To achieve better results in your workouts, you should know what to do before and after a workout. Things like adequate sleep and proper nutrition can affect your progress and results. Below are 15 things that should be part of your pre-workout and post-workout routines.
If you want your daily workout program to be as effective and beneficial as possible, you must plan well. There are a myriad of things you should think about before you kick off the program. They include the timing of workouts, fitness nutrition, and exercise gear. You should decide whether you’ll be doing it in the morning or evening regarding your workout time.
On nutritional matters, you should determine the type of meals to eat before and after workouts. For convenience sake, buy your food at the beginning of each week. Do thorough research on the best food choices for a fitness program. Similarly, look for an ideal workout outfit before you kick off the program. Try to stay away from cotton, as that tends to soak up moisture. Rather, look into wicking fabrics that draw sweat away. You may consult your gym instructor or personal trainer for essential buying tips.
Get Adequate Sleep
If you want to reap many benefits from your fitness program, sleep should be your greatest concern. Generally, sleep re-energizes and restores the body’s functionality. In addition to enhancing your energy levels for squats and jumping jacks, sleep will boost the performance of your hunger hormones. This will ensure that your eating habits are kept in check. Essentially, you should get at least seven continuous hours of shut-eye sleep. By getting adequate sleep, you allow your body to recover and get ready for the next day’s activities.
Hydrate and Fuel Up Your Body
When working out, food and water are as crucial to your body as fuel to a vehicle. When and what you eat matters a lot. Food can help give you the necessary energy to sustain you throughout a grueling workout. Failing to eat before an exercise can cause general weakness and dizziness, which can ultimately affect your performance. To avoid this, you should always include a light meal or snack in your pre-workout routine. Make sure that the food contains the right portions of carbs, healthy fats, and proteins. Some good meal ideas include:
- Oatmeal with fresh fruit
- Protein smoothie
- Greek yogurt
- A granola or nutrition bar
Water is equally important in your fitness routine. You lose a lot of water through sweating during physical exercise. Drinking plenty of water before the workout will protect your body from getting dehydrated and also boost your energy levels. The timing of meals is an essential aspect of your pre-exercise routine. To avoid stomach discomfort during the exercise, eat your food 1 – 2 hours before the workout. You may drink water 0 – 20 minutes before the workout.
Timing is Key
Timing your pre-exercise and post-exercise routines can significantly affect the ultimate results. For example, you need to decide on the best time to consume your meals before and after working out. Additionally, you should select the ideal time that you’ll dedicate to your exercise. Is it going to be morning or evening hours?
According to research, it is better to work out in the morning than at other times in the day. An early morning workout is fantastic for your body’s metabolism, and even a short workout can make a huge difference. Of course, if you can’t workout in the morning, any other time will suffice, as long as you get the workout in! The most important aspect is your consistency in the workout program. You will reap maximum benefits if you adhere to a schedule.
Warming Up Before Exercise
Warming up is essential even for short workouts. Generally, warming up prepares the body for the intense activities you are about to do. In addition to preparing the body for motion, it raises the body temperature. The primary purpose of warming up is to prevent muscle injuries and soreness.
You should engage in less intensive and light activities before the exercise. Jumping jacks, side hops, and skipping without rope are great warm-up exercises. They will accelerate heartbeat and blood flow as well as heat up the muscles.
The ability to move, run, or stretch depends on what you are wearing. Your exercise gear will significantly impact your flexibility and mobility when working out. If you are a professional athlete, it may affect your athletic performance in competitions. Therefore, you need to have the right workout gear if you want to attain the best outcomes from the program.
Wearing improper footwear when working out is a big mistake. You should invest in good sneakers if you want to enjoy your exercise and experience better endurance. Also, wearing a high-impact sports bra can make all the difference when jogging or running. Different activities will require different outfits, so be sure to research before you buy your sports gear.
Supplements can help to prepare your body for intensive workouts. They help to reduce fatigue, expand body mass, boost muscle strength, and improve general performance. Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes. It is able to increase fiber size, mass, and power of muscles. Another common supplement in sports is caffeine. It is mainly obtained from beverages like tea, coffee, and energy drinks. You can use caffeine to boost your energy levels and reduce fatigue. Other essential supplements include the amino acid range such as Beta-Alanine and the Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).
However, you need to take your supplements in a consistent manner if you want to reap their benefits. Do not expect them to work overnight. More importantly, consult your primary care physician before you start taking any supplements. They will assist you in choosing the right supplements and picking an appropriate dosage for you.
Choose a Suitable Workout Program
Different people have varying objectives when it comes to physical exercise. Some will do it with the intention of losing or maintaining weight, and others it is for physical fitness. Yet, others will do it for the sake of their general health benefits. But, regardless of your objectives, you should choose an exercise program that is enjoyable. Select something that won’t bore you a few months down the line, tempting you to give up. Furthermore, you should incorporate a variety of exercises in your workout program. Include strength training, aerobic exercise, and yoga. By having a variety, you can experience a broader range of health benefits while avoiding a monotonous routine.
Your workout program should address all the aspects of physical fitness like endurance, flexibility, aerobic fitness, and muscular strength. It is also essential to vary the intensity of your exercises. This will be determined by your level of fitness. For instance, you might want to skip a day between your workouts if your body’s fitness is a little bit wanting.
You can quickly achieve your fitness goals by being part of a team of like-minded people. Consider enrolling in a social sports club or a gym. You will feel motivated and confident in achieving your goals when you have someone walking on the same journey as yours. However, do not forget to choose a fitness program that matches your lifestyle. If your work schedule allows you to attend gym sessions, then go for it. But, if it is a tight one, you may look for a personal trainer to help you exercise at your home.
When you finish working out, don’t flop onto a chair or take a nap immediately. You should make sure that your heart rate has slowed down, and your body temperatures have gone back to normal. Walking around can help you achieve this. The next step is stretching out so as to prevent cramps and injuries. In addition, post-workout stretches can also help tone your muscles.
Post workout stretches should be slow and unloaded. You should take your time when doing these stretches to ensure maximum relaxation of your body. Once you are done stretching, lie down and breathe for a few more minutes.
Refuel and Rehydrate
Post-workout nutrition is a vital health routine when it comes to physical exercise. The food you consume after a workout should be able to repair damaged tissues and muscles, increase the size and quality of muscle, and replenish your glycogen stores. In doing this, you will be able to maintain your body in good shape for subsequent workouts. Your post-workout meal should comprise of carbs, healthy fats, and proteins. Some of the foods you can eat after a workout include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Rice cakes
You also need water to rehydrate. Remember, you have been sweating throughout the workout, thus losing a lot of water from your body. Drinking a few ounces of water will help to replenish the water lost in your cells.
Use a Foam Roller
In addition to stretches, a foam roller can help to reduce soreness and injury after a workout. According to experts, foam rolling has immense benefits in terms of speeding up recovery from working out. It is also a vital strategy to increase the flow of blood to tissues. If you do it regularly and adequately, foam rolling can enable you to achieve your desired workout goals.
What is the point of working extremely hard in your workouts and not having something to show your improvements? It will help to keep a record of each workout session. The record should include the activities you have been able to accomplish as well as the distances you have covered when running. Besides that, you will highlight the challenges you have encountered and reminders of activities you need to complete in the next session.
By keeping a journal, you will know whether you are attaining your workout goals or not. Using your log, you can look back at the week’s progress and decide if it’s time to go a notch higher. You will draw some motivation from your workout journal if the improvement is positive.
Take a Cool Shower
A cold shower can do you good, especially if you have been working out in the hot sun. It is the last bit of recovery therapy after a workout session. In addition to promoting recovery, cold water reduces inflammation. If you can endure extreme cold, you may add a few ice cubes in your water bath to ensure complete recovery of sore muscles. Moreover, a cold water bath will cool you down and normalize the body temperatures. And, of course, showering after a workout helps your skin get back its glow when you wash out the dirt and sweat.
By maintaining a healthy routine before and after exercise, you can reap the maximum benefits from your fitness regime. You can attain your fitness goals by doing your activities the right way. These tips will help steer you in the right direction. But more importantly, make working out a lifestyle and not just a short-term adventure.