There are three key elements that are important to make any exercise program successful. These elements are safety, effectiveness and enjoyment.
First, we have safety which is should be number one on everyone’s list. The “No pain, no gain” theory is a myth. Avoid any exercise that causes you pain or unnecessary discomfort. If pain occurs in the neck or chest area, stop exercising and if necessary, get some medical attention. General muscle soreness is another matter, especially for the beginner. You can expect some soreness, but it should not be extreme.
A personal trainer will help plan an exercise program for you, that suits your current fitness level. As your fitness level increases, your program should be adjusted to keep up with you. Too much too soon will only challenge your efforts.
Using proper form, technique and trying to avoid high-impact exercise. This will keep your program safe and you on the right track. A strain in your lower back, shins, calves, ankles and knees are predictable results of improper form. Getting any of these injuries will put a stop on your exercise program, setting you back weeks. Repetitive, jarring movements should be avoided for all general fitness. If you feel a strain, please let your trainer know or go see your doctor. The trainer will not always know if you don’t tell them.
Don’t bounce or force stretching movements. Quick, pulsing movements while stretching can result in muscle strain and tears. Static movements that gradually extend muscles through the full range of motion until you feel resistance is the stretching to use for general fitness. Stretching will also reduce the likelihood of injury and soreness, so don’t forget to do it as part of your start-up steps.
Secondly, we have effectiveness. Effective exercise does require effort, but those who say it must hurt are wrong. The level of exercise is determined by your fitness level and goals. The fuel source for the body during low to moderate aerobic exercise is fat. If burning excess body fat is your current fitness goal, stick to the recommended exercises and intensity levels to receive maximum results. As your fitness level increases, so will the formula for your program. Intensity, weight, repetitions and rest periods will all be adjusted as you progress.
Proper warm up before exercising and cool down afterwards is essential to avoid injury and achieve peak performance.
Lastly, always enjoy what you are doing. It has been said that nobody will exercise just because it is good for them. We need additional motives or goals that mean something to us and that will come as a result of regular exercise.
It is important to identify your goal, so your exercising effort is focused on your goal(s) to keep motivated. The more motivating your exercise becomes the more enjoyable it will be. More enjoyment you have, the better it will help you produce more consistent and greater results!
So how do you make exercise fun? First of all, stop thinking of it as exercise and start thinking of it as play. You remember play don’t you, those activities we all enjoyed as a child. Turn exercise into play, something to look forward to! Usually, play involves interaction with friends, so maybe start a group or get a few friends involved.
Keep your play fun, positive and exciting! Remember, have fun.