When you are in the zone and working hard, it can be a nuisance to have to stop because of a twinge of muscle pain. You want to carry on, but you would risk causing an injury. Why is it these things always happen when you’re just getting into a good workout? It’s possible you have failed to prepare your body as thoroughly as it needs to take on the exercises you are doing. Here are the top eight things you should be doing before you start working out:
- Sleep – Exercising when tired will increase your chances of making a mistake and getting hurt. If you’re using gym equipment, you may also risk hurting someone else. When fatigue has set in, you can’t focus mentally, and your physical efforts feel harder than they should be. Only work out if you have slept well.
- Wear the right gear – Don’t turn up for a workout without all the right gym wear. Your shoes are the most important part of your kit. You may also want gloves if you are lifting weights to increase your muscle mass. Knee supports and back supports are key to avoiding injury in these areas if you are going to be working hard.
- Take a towel – There are many injuries each year from sweat. The wetness makes equipment and surfaces slippery, so wipe your hands, head and equipment down after every use. It’s not pleasant for other gym users to work through your sweat either.
- Water – Plain water is enough to keep you hydrated. Gyms get hot, and you get hotter as you work out. Dehydration can cause mental confusion and a lack of focus on your task. It can also cause muscle cramps. You can find top tips for leg cramp relief online if you find you cramp up regularly.
- Diet – If you haven’t eaten, your blood sugar can suddenly plunge and make you dizzy. That can be very dangerous if it happens in the gym. You also need to be sure you are eating enough calories to support the exercise you are doing. Weight loss programs often mean fewer calories but if you up your exercise at the same time you may be in trouble. Ensure the food you eat is nutritious to support cell renewal and muscle building.
- Rest – Your body needs to rest between workouts, especially when you are building muscle mass. Spend your rest days doing gentle exercises like walking or stretching.
- Warm-ups – Before any exercise, perform a good variety of warm-up activities. These should get the limbs moving and your heart rate up a little. Stretch the muscles thoroughly before you begin any repetitive actions like weight lifting or distance running.
- Cooldowns – When your workout is complete, perform your warm up routine again as a cool down. You will need to add stretches to include the muscles you have worked on. Bring your heart rate back to normal and rehydrate before hitting the showers. Good work!