Did you know that the average person strength training on their own goes about it incorrectly?
To help you get the most from your workout embrace the fact that there is a learning curve and awareness to strength training that has to do more with your body position, breathing, and core engagement.
Strength training with sloppy or careless form could set you up for injury and prevent you from moving forward and reaching your healthy living goals. If you pay attention to how your body feels during exercise you may come to enjoy it much more.
So keep these two often overlooked thoughts in mind while going through your strength training routine
Having a sense of body awareness keeps you in-tune and engaged in what you are doing, so be aware and alert to how your body is moving through space while exercising. Pay attention to your posture whether you’re standing tall or bending at the hips, be sure not to hunch over, and maintain core engagement as if bracing for a punch as you go through each exercise.
Focus on the movement you're doing and breathe. Typical breathing during strength training is to exhale while you’re pushing, pulling or lifting the weight or when the movement is most difficult and inhale on the return. And always keep in mind that if something hurts don't do it.
Speed is not always your friend. When the average fitness enthusiast speeds up movement it turns sloppy. Going through an exercise quickly just to get it done, or partially by not using your full range of motion makes that movement not only less effective but possibly a waste of your time. Don’t give in to sloppy movements which will eventually get worse as time goes on.
Exercise is part of a well-balanced healthy-living lifestyle, so one of our goals is to stay injury and pain free especially as we age.
We can be kinder to our bodies, more proficient with our energy, and get the most out of our time and workouts by taking our time.
In general spend between 30 to 45 minutes on your strength training workout using correct form and a pace that allows you to finish each movement properly. By focusing on your body awareness and slowing down a little you'll establish good habits that will stay with you long after your exercise session is done.
To your health
While I was in the middle of my workout today I was taken back a little by how challenging it felt, and the first thing I thought was gheeze I’m not in my 50’s anymore! Ha! I got through it just fine, but it was challenging and I had to push myself to continue. Which made me think that maybe it’s time to slow down and not expect so much out of myself, and as soon as that thought entered my head I gave it a swift powerful sidekick out the door! That is a slippery slope I don’t care to go down because it’s so darn easy to back off and slow down!
So what if my workout is a little ambitious, and seriously it is within reason, it’s okay. In order to stay strong and active in our lives we have to continually challenge ourselves, but we know there is a fine line between challenging ourselves and overdoing it. The goal is to have the health benefits of our exercise routine outweigh the risks, not the other way around. We don’t want to overdo it, especially as we age, but we have to make sure we’re doing enough to challenge ourselves so we receive those health benefits. The key is to listen to your body and be aware of little changes that may be happening that could signal that you’re overdoing it, like not sleeping well, or excessive soreness, or maybe some irritability. I know for me personally my body goes through uncomfortable changes when I don’t exercise regularly, I feel lethargic or my body aches and feels stiff. A challenging exercise routine, within reason (which by the way will look different for each of us because exercise is a journey, and we each have a unique fitness level), will help us stay engaged in our lives and may very well be our fountain of youth.
So what’s the take away? Don’t let a demanding exercise routine, whatever that is for you, intimidate you into slowing down or backing off. And I know as we age things do get harder, but we just need to simply do the best we can during each workout (which as we know, some days will be better than others), and just keep moving forward, because every single day we have a new opportunity to prioritize our health and wellness and embrace the positives that are given to us through a challenging but attainable exercise routine.
Useful practical information and a workout or two...