Today we’re going to break some barriers. Tonnes of people don’t exercise because of some idea or cliché in their head and we’re going to fix that! Here’s 5 things that you’ve probably heard or thought that you really just need to forget.
1. Weight training is about bulking up
Most people seem to think of weight training as a step towards body building, doing their best to look like The Terminator. There are still a lot of good reasons to do weight exercises that aren’t for bulking. Your daily activities are require your muscular support so you should be building them up to make your day that little bit easier.
The benefits of weight training include:
- Increased strength
- Better performances
- A strong, shapely figure
- Protection from injury
The best weight training exercises that will help you achieve a sculpted figure without bulking up are bodyweight exercises. These exercises help you build explosive strength, i.e., the speed at which your muscles contract. You’ll gain power and tone as you sculpt your muscles and get fit, all without adding bulk!
Be sure to take a balanced approach to work all parts of your body equally to avoid muscle imbalances.
2. I’m too old for sport
No one has put a hard limit on any sport, you’re as young as you feel! To keep your mind and body healthy – no matter your age – it is recommended that everyone do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. This will keep your fitness up on a daily basis! You just need to find the sport you want to do and that’s right for you.
Fitness encompasses a range of various disciplines, one of which will certainly meet your expectations regardless of your age or fitness level. Doing sport doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be ultra intensive. There are a lot of gentle sporting activities such as yoga, pilates or stretching, which focus on lengthening muscles and increasing flexibility.
Whatever the exercise, the most important thing is that you enjoy yourself. Know that doing a regular physical activity is the best way to stay healthy!
3. Sticking to a routine. Bad or good?
Routines are good because you know what you’re doing but in can hold back your progress. Doing the same thing over and over again means that your body gets used to it and you stop being challenged. To keep you from plateauing, you’ll want to change things up from time to time (both to push yourself and to keep it from being boring). The key to a good workout is challenging your body and doing exercises that aren’t too easy. To improve your fitness, you have to stress your muscles so they can keep getting stronger.
If you intend to keep increasing your fitness, change your training programme every six weeks. You can either switch the exercises you do or increase the number of reps for each. Be sure to alternate between strength training and cardio workouts.
4. Will working out every day get better results?
It might sounds counter intuitive but you don’t get fitter faster by working out every day. Sport tires your muscles and causes micro-tears from which your body needs time to recover. This is why recovery between workouts is so important. You should rest at least 24 hours between each workout, and remember to stretch and rehydrate. If you don’t give yourself time to recover, you’re putting yourself at increased risk for injury and overtraining. Don’t torture yourself – listen to your body.
Did you know? Intense sport actually speeds up our body’s ageing process by causing premature oxidative stress to cells.
5. Abdominal exercises for a flat stomach
Ab exercises like crunches, knee lifts and sit-ups are known to be effective ab strengtheners. That said, these only improve the superficial muscles around your waist. Unless you work on your deep ab muscles you won’t have that 6 pack to show off. You also need to do core isometrics or Pilates movements. This type of exercise will help you tone your waist for a fit and shapely figure.
The way you breathe matters! It’s pretty easy to breathe the “wrong” way. We tend to cause the skin and abdominal wall to stretch – and it only gets worse with age. To counter this, take a few minutes every day to practise deep breathing, so here’s a breathing exercise.
When you wake up in the morning and are still in bed, place your hands on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through the nose and into the stomach, then breathe out through the mouth and try to bring your belly button in as close to your spine as possible. Do this about a dozen times.
When finished, you should feel a slight tension in your deep muscles, which is proof that you were using them properly and the work was effective. As a bonus, this is a great way to wake your body up slowly and calmly so you’ll be ready to take on your day!