The New Get-Fit Rules: Exercise Dos and Don'ts
Tips for Regular Exercisers
Set new goals. It's easy for gym regulars to hit a slump and stop seeing the benefits or having the fun that kept them motivated in the past. Before you start dodging gym dates, find a new challenge: Sign up for a 5K, or plan an active vacation like hiking the Tetons or kayaking and surfing in Baja, suggests Steve Glass, PhD, of the Human Performance Lab at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
Breathe better. To improve your performance, focus on your breathing, says Vindum. "Inhale deeply during the rest phases of an exercise, and exhale forcefully in the work phases." Try inhaling to a count of three and exhaling to a count of three. A powerful exhale can help you generate more force, which means you'll be able to do more work.
Skimp on shoes. Choose footwear for its functionality, not because it's stylish, says O'Connor. Inadequate shoes can lead to injuries, so go to a sporting goods or athletic-shoe store, where knowledgeable staff can fit you with shoes designed to support your feet during specific activities. If you wear your shoes regularly, make sure to replace them every three months. Though the treads might still be intact, the cushioning and support in the midsoles will likely have worn out by then.
Be unbalanced. Most regular exercisers are diligent about including cardio, strength, and flexibility in their routines, but they forget about balance, says Vindum. This critical skill allows you to move fluidly and avoid injuries. At the end of your workout, stand on one leg and lift the other out in front of you. Try to hold this for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. When this move gets too easy, you can shake things up by closing your eyes, making circles with the raised leg, and/or standing on the edge of a step, balance disk, or Bosu.
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