You do not have to join a gym to exercise...anybody can exercise anywhere. Get outside and go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes, put a DVD in and exercise in front of your TV, or if you have cable, there is an exercise channel available for FREE with all kinds of different routines. There really are no excuses for not exercising.
Here is a list of "bad habits" we sometimes fall into when exercising and wondering why we aren't seeing results:
- SUFFERING FROM EXERCISE ADD: We sometimes tend to jump from one trend to another and never stick with anything long enough to see results. Our body needs 8-10 weeks to respond--if we keep making too many changes, our body doesn't fully adapt. Find something you love and stick to it for at least 8 weeks to see results.
- FAILING TO PLAN WORKOUTS: This is the opposite of the above...if we are ONLY running, for instance, every single day and increasing our mileage too fast, we can cause injury. Any seasoned runner will advise some kind of cross-training during the week such as cycling, briskly walking, strength training, etc.
- WEARING THE WRONG KIND OF FOOTWEAR: The wrong footwear will absolutely result in some kind of injury. I never really believed this until I experienced it first hand. If you are going to run, get running shoes...brisk walking, get walking shoes....it makes a HUGE difference!
- ZONING OUT DURING WORKOUTS: This happens more often than you think....especially in the gym. While on the treadmill or elliptical machines, you see people on their phones. These people really are not getting the most out of their workout because they probably are not pushing themselves hard enough.
- NOT PUSHING HARD ENOUGH OR PUSHING TOO HARD: Again, like the above issue, if you are not pushing yourself, (15 minutes into a routine you should at least start to sweat), you will not see results. However, if you push too hard, you run the risk of over-training. You should push yourself to the point of being uncomfortable for about 2-3 workouts a week, (on a scale of 0-10, you should be at 8-9)...the other remaining days at a scale of about 5-7.
- HOLDING YOUR BREATH: People don't even realize they are doing this, (I have to pay attention). Weight lifters tend to have this problem....the correct way to lift is to inhale, then while LIFTING UP, exhale.
- SKIPPING OUT ON COOLING DOWN: Cooling down is extremely important!! We need to have significant amounts of blood to return to previously worked muscles and we need to slowly decrease our heart rate. Also, muscles are extremely flexible after working out, this is really the best time to stretch.
- SPENDING REST DAY ON THE COUCH: It is important to have a recovery day, but spending it on the couch can cause more harm than good. What is best for us is called active recovery--stretch, walk, bike ride, etc. Pump fresh oxygen into sore muscles to speed recovery.
- FOCUSING ONLY ON TROUBLE SPOTS: Spot reduction is a myth and may actually backfire, according to the experts. For instance, if you are focusing on inner thighs only, this can create muscle imbalance that may affect your whole body.
- EXERCISING WHILE DEHYDRATED: It is really important to stay well hydrated. Studies show you should drink at least 32 oz of water in the hours leading up to your work-out, and at least 8 oz 20 minutes before starting. However, if you are a runner, let's say, it's extremely important to hydrate everyday leading up to race day. It makes a HUGE difference in your performance!
So, why not start doing some kind of exercise today? Even if it's just a 30 minute brisk walk, it's a start. Sometimes the "hardest part" is getting motivated to start. Just set aside 30 minutes each day to do something....there are 1440 minutes in one day...carve out 30 of those minutes to devote to your health....it is time well spent!!