Regular participation in exercise is one means of improving mind-body fitness and when executed properly, the different forms of exercise can take the qualities of mind and cultivate them internally so that the person’s powers of self-observation are increased.
However, all these positive outcomes are subjected to the realisations of the common blunders involved in enhancing and maintaining your fitness levels.
- Skipping warm-ups and cooldowns: Tight muscles are the gateways to cramps and strains. Before you exercise, prime your muscles for fitness by performing light exercises including gentle stretching or slow walking. It is also mandatory to stretch again after your sessions to cool-down your body, bring your heart rate down and prevent post-exercise cramps.
- Pushing yourself to extremes: It is very important to work at your own pace. Never push yourself to the extreme limits as it would not only push you closer to injury but will also add up to your stress. Remember, at the end of the exercise session you need to feel good and relaxed and not sad and stressed. Beginners must move at low-moderate tempo and take frequent breaks in-between. You may increase the intensity and duration of your exercise as your level of fitness improves.
- Exercising in pain: If you are experiencing any kind of pain, soreness, discomfort, dizziness, light-headedness, breathlessness, cramps, palpitations or severe fatigue, immediately stop the exercise. Exercising in pain may further aggravate the situation and worsen it, thus preventing your further participation in the exercise routine.
- Waiting to feel thirsty: Never wait for your body to ask for water. It is very important to hydrate yourself before, during and after the exercise. Dehydration can cause cramps, fatigue, dizziness and nausea.
- Purpose and technique of exercise: It is very important to know what exercise you are doing, what is the purpose of doing it and the correct technique involved in doing so. It is also advisable to invest in a session with a certified personal trainer to learn the proper technique for various exercises. Schedule an appointment with the doctor prior to joining an exercise programme, especially if you have any health problem even as common as high blood pressure.
- Irregular exercise routine: Improving fitness is one aspect, but maintaining your fitness levels is equally important. It is important for you to involve yourself in a regular exercise routine. Jumping in and out of your exercise routine or being irregular for your sessions would neither help you to improve nor help you to maintain your fitness level. This would actually drop your fitness level lower and would probably require you to re-start from a lower level.
- Holding your breath: Choosing the correct breathing technique depends on the type of exercise that one performs. Although, there is no hard and fast rule relating to breathing techniques but the simple rule to follow is to inhale at the beginning of the exercise and exhale at the toughest point of exercise. This rule is generally followed in a weighttraining programme. However, never hold your breath while exercising as it may push you to the anaerobic zone, which is not advisable and also causes fast fatigue.
- Posture: Another important but often the most underestimated aspect during exercise is the maintenance of a correct posture that places your body in less stress while exercising.
- Diet: Though many of us are aware of the quantity and quality of foods that keep us healthy, it is critical to understand the time at which the meal is consumed. A proper lunch taken at the lunch hour serves double the purpose than a lunch consumed at a later hour. There are some foods that are more effective when taken prior to exercising and some foods that are best effective post-exercise. Foods like apples, oranges, and raw carrots make good pre-exercise snacks, while foods like Bagels, pasta, resins and baked foods are good recovery foods and make good post-exercise snacks. Take meals high in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins and low in fat. However, under special dietary conditions one may alter the nutrients as per the recommendation of a certified nutritionist.
- Stress management: The key factor behind the development of a number of diseases – be it diabetes or heart or obesity or hypertension – is none other than the stress syndrome. Keep your diet in control, include some form of regular exercise routine and change some of your lifestyle habits to de-stress yourself.
Guidelines for water intake