Fixing Fitness Fails
Living a perfectly healthy life is unrealistic. Things happen. Everybody slips up at some point. The important thing is what you do afterward. These are some of the more common fitness fails and how to overcome them.
Problem: You can't get out and exercise for two weeks.
Casual exercisers that workout two or three times a week won't see much of a muscle tone change. The same is true for athletes who train at least four or five times a week.
Your aerobic fitness is a different story. Your body's ability to efficiently use oxygen begins to decline right away. After just 12 days of inactivity, endurance athletes' VO2 max dropped by 7%. Skip training for four weeks, and those same athletes experienced a 20% decline. If you've been working out for less than a year, you could lose all your aerobic conditioning in as little as two months.
Age is a big factor. All these numbers are based on studies done with 20 to 30-year-olds. When the same tests are done on people 65 and older, the losses happen almost twice as fast.
Fix it by incorporating casual aerobic activity into your schedule. Get up and walk around anytime you're on the phone. Park your car far away from where you need to go. Spending just 15 minutes walking up and down stairs or around the block three times a week can hold off the decline.
Problem: You don't drink enough water while exercising.
When you sweat, your blood volume decreases. That causes less blood to return to your heart. Less blood pumping through your heart results in lower levels of oxygen-rich getting to your muscles. Your strength and stamina start to drop.
On hot days, your body sends more blood to your skin to help remove heat. When you don't drink enough water, the cooling effect drops. Your heart rate increases along with your core body temperature. The longer you go without enough water, the greater your risk of heatstroke.
Fix it by setting an alarm to go off every 10 to 15 minutes while you're exercising. Weigh yourself at the beginning of your workout and again at the end. Make a note of how much water you drink. If your weight drops by 2 percent or more, you're not drinking enough. If it increases by more than 2 percent, you're drinking too much.
Problem: You keep hitting the snooze button on your alarm.
The snooze alarm can make you more tired. Most snooze alarm cycles are between 7 and 9 minutes. That's not enough time for your body to achieve deep sleep. Plus, it can cause lots of stress.
Fix it by setting the alarm for the actual time you need to wake up. When your alarm goes off, get up. You'll be less groggy for that first hour.
A typical full sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. To make sure you wake up at the end of a completed cycle, start calculating how long you can sleep in 90-minute increments. If you have to be up by 7:00 am, you should get to sleep by 10 pm, 11:30 pm, 1:00 am, or 2:30 am. Fall asleep at any one of those times, and you'll tend to wake up more alert and energetic.
You get even better results if you go to bed 14 minutes before you're supposed to be asleep. That's about how long it takes the average person to doze off. If you want a quick energy boost during the day, nap for 10 to 20 minutes. Longer than that, and you'll wake up groggy.
Problem: You sit around in sweaty clothes after your workout.
A common belief is that the moisture and bacteria from workout clothing can cause rashes and breakouts.
Fix it by always cleaning your exercise clothes after every workout. Researchers found that simple sweat isn't the cause of breakouts; it's the bacteria that builds up on your gear. When the equipment makes contact with your skin, infections happen. If you make sure everything you wear is properly cleaned after every workout, you shouldn't worry about breakouts or rashes.
Problem: You don't stretch before a workout.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, stretching before a workout does NOT reduce the risk of injury. Stretching before exercise reduces the strength and power you can put into a workout.
Fix it by stretching, DURING a workout. To get results, you've got to stretch the antagonist or opposite muscle you're working on. Stretching the muscle group that's the opposite of what you're working will make you stronger.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.