Most people have fitness goals of losing weight or toning up. Often, fitness routines can become too routine or boring and this leads to burnout. When people are more realistic and set specific fitness goals, they can accomplish them in a shorter amount of time. Weight-loss can be a by-product of these specific goals. Fine tuning elements of your physical fitness will prevent injury. This will allow you to enjoy exercise longer and feel great in your new body. Here are some specific physical fitness goals that will improve your lifestyle and your time at the gym.
When we improve our flexibility, we can increase our range of motion with each exercise. When we have a greater range of motion, we can see better results from better posture. Improving flexibility also helps prevent injury. The best way to improve flexibility is to stretch before and after a workout or take a yoga class. I like to stretch for about 10-15 after I exercise, because my muscles are warm. It feels great and it’s a good cool down.
Also, stretching before bedtime helps you to feel great when you wake up. Taking the time to stretch doesn’t have to take very long. Hold each stretch for about 20 seconds for each major muscle group.
Gain Lean Muscle Mass
Most people don’t realize that when we increase our lean muscle mass, we increase our metabolism. This is a difficult goal to understand because we will see the number on the scale go up. We might even get hungrier from increase calories burned.
The best way to gain lean muscle mass is to eat 3-5 ounces of lean protein to each meal and slowly add heavier weights at the gym. Most people can gain about 5 to 15 pounds of lean muscle in a year. Don’t worry about gaining too much it’s a slow process. Don’t give up.
Increasing your stamina or endurance is not done overnight. Whether the goal is to run a marathon or just get through a 20-minute cardio session, start slowly. Running on a treadmill isn’t the only form of cardio. There are many different machines that can get your heart rate up and improve your endurance.
Whether your goal is weight loss, or just to feel better, try to work up to 45 minutes a day. You will see the weight-loss benefits and your endurance will improve over time. Try to keep your heart rate in the fat burning zone.
Many machines have great features that tell you how many calories burned, strides per minute, and target heart rate. Also try group fitness classes. Get outside, play tennis or golf, or find something you love to do outdoors. The endorphins will be worth the time spent.
Work on Balance
Balance is often neglected. We don’t realize we’ve lost our balance, until we feel a little bit off center. There are many balance poses that will strengthen the stabilizing muscles and allow the body to balance. It takes practice and it needs to be worked on, almost daily, if that is your goal. The muscles have memory and balance is a great element of fitness to work on.
A great way to work on balance is to take a yoga class or hire a personal trainer. They can take you through a balance and stability assessment and tell you which muscles are tight or need to be strengthened. When we strengthen our stabilizing muscles, we will have better balance and coordination.
Maybe your fitness goal is just to put more into your workout and use better form. Paying attention to posture and stabilizing muscles will improve each rep for better results. Also focusing on breathing will strengthen your core and your stabilizing muscles. This will also help with balance and posture.
Being mindful of every breath and every rep is also important for injury prevention. When we strengthen our stabilizing muscles, our bone structure is supported better and we will feel less aches from poor body alignment. No aches and pains is a great goal to have for 2017
Coordination is an essential element of fitness. We use coordination every day of our lives. Every thing we do, from getting dressed to picking up a glass, requires some level of coordination. Functional exercise is around to help people improve the repetitive moves that we do daily. If you’re an athlete and want to get better at a sport, practicing speed drills can improve your coordination. Being able to change your body’s direction and stop on a dime are important. Also, moving quickly, anticipating and listening to instruction is good for coordination
Some ways to get more coordination in your life is to take a dance class, a group training class, or try a sport like tennis.
By Susan Elle Harmon, CPT, Neta Healthy Lifestle Specialist, ACE Fitness Nutrition, Photos by James Patrick
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