Getting your moves right: Learning to exercise the right way

Doing the right thing the wrong way can sometimes make it the wrong thing. And that is especially true with Exercise.

If you are not careful with ‘how’ you exercise, you could end up hurting yourself or straining one of your muscles and actually end up doing more harm to yourself than good.

So remember these pointers the next time you hit the gym.

Before you exercise:

  • Eat a small snack before you exercise, perhaps a fruit or a drink, though you should avoid foods rich in sugar.
  • Drink sufficient water: This is so that you don’t get dehydrated while you work-out. Drink 500 ml about 15 minutes before you begin to exercise.
  • Warm up well. Warming up will help you slowly increase your heart rate blood flow rate and loosens up your muscles, getting you ready for the exercise to follow. Don’t ignore this step. Start with slow gentle movements and slowly pick up the pace. Spot jog for a few minutes.
  • Stretch. Stretch the muscles only once. Hold them at the point of muscle tension (without any pain) for about 10 – 20 seconds and then release. Stretching helps to improve balance, flexibility and posture.

While you exercise:

  • Use the correct gear and clothes: Make sure the equipment you use is safe to use. Ensure your shoes are not worn out. If you prefer exercising or working-out outdoors, dress according to the season. Use clothes that will allow your skin to breathe during the summer months. In winter, dress in layers and cover your ears, hands and head.
  • Aerobic exercise: Do some amount of aerobic/cardio exercise. This are activities like running, cycling, walking etc. where your large muscles move in a steady rhythm for a certain amount of time. Aerobic activity is great for your heart and lungs and helps you with your weight.
  • Strength training: It’s important to balance out aerobic activity with strength training, which will involve weights and short bursts of activity (unlike aerobic exercise which was continual activity for sometime). Strength training is good for your muscle, joints and bones.
  • Drink water: Keep yourself hydrated while you exercise. Have a drink of water every 20 minutes while you exercise.

After you finish exercising

Cool down: Cooling down helps your heart rate to come down to normal and it is an important part of your exercise. It usually takes twice as long as your warm-up.

Rest: Adults over the age of 19 years should engage in physical activity for about 150 minutes a week. But it may be good to take a break or rest day, especially after you do high intensity aerobic exercise, to give your body the chance to rest and repair itself.