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10 Most Effective Ways of Exercising and Staying Fit

10 Most Effective Ways of Exercising and Staying Fit

In today’s world, it is essential to stay fit and in optimum shape, both physically and mentally. It helps you with coping with all the rigors of the day and can keep you from imploding. Although due to the nature of our jobs, we hardly find it hard to engage in activities that increase our fitness, the goal of staying healthy isn’t that hard to attain. With the steps below, you can work around your schedule and achieve maximum physical and mental fitness:

1. Exercise

Exercise is probably the most important factor to be considered in getting physically fit. Cardiovascular exercise helps to bolster the heart and lungs, strength training helps to develop the various body muscles and stretching helps to reduce the risk of injury and muscle cramps by increasing joint and body flexibility. Exercise also improves blood circulation and aids the quick and regular expulsion of waste products from the body. No matter how strange and seemingly regimented, you should have a regular time for thorough bodily exercise. Without it, fitness will only be a goal and will never really come to fruition.

2. Eat Right

Recent studies have revealed that about 80% of any fitness objective depends largely on your diet and food intake; whether weight loss, muscular and cardiovascular development or preparing for an upcoming sporting event. Consuming an ideal mixture of fresh carbohydrates, proteins and body-friendly fats will give you the energy required to support your campaign for fitness and has the potential to begin revealing positive results quite rapidly.

For the most part, when coaching clients through weight loss and definition, I will advise eating three meals and two snacks to help keep your metabolism burning at a constant rate. These snacks should fit into your feeding regimen; snacks that contain too much fat could disrupt your diet and inject too much fats into your system.

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When planning meals and cooking, pay much attention to the labels on food cans and packs for the content and percentages of carbohydrates, proteins and fats embedded in them. You should aim for numbers revolving around:

– 45% Carbohydrates: These should be organic and starch-free. There should also be an absence of genetically and chemically enhanced products (e.g. pasta)

– 30% Protein: Proteins are complex amino acids. Most preferably low-fat versions of meat and fish, organic milk and soy beans are also awesome providers of protein.

– 25% Fats: Nuts and seeds are great sources of ideal fats and oils, as well as avocados and oily fish.

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3. Keep Yourself Constantly Hydrated

Hydration is a major key to staying in optimum health. As numerous reports and studies have shown, the brain, much like the Earth itself, is made up of about 70% water content.

A major question that is asked by people and fitness nuts is how much water intake is ideal for staying healthy. The truth is that the amount depends on the person; the minimum amount of water that should be consumed by a normal adult is about two liters of water a day. However, a little bit of math will help you find a more personal amount that will fit your body:

Body weight (in Kg) x 0.03 = minimum amount of water intake

When you calculate this number, it might seem like you have to take an enormous amount of water daily. However, the amount is essential in order to wash out the excess salts and harmful toxins in your body. It will also aid in the body’s respiratory and muscular recovery from draining exercise.

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4. Get Enough Sleep

Due to the nature of our jobs, it seems like quite a number of people have forgotten what it means (or how) to relax. We often find ourselves carrying stress and tension deep in the bowels of our muscles, although many a time, all we really need to do is lie down for a while and allow our muscles and brains to take a time out to relax, process and clear our minds of all the conflicting thoughts.

When the body is in a relaxing state, it is able to repair itself, especially after prolonged periods of exercise. Another importance of rest is that it will relax the mind, giving you the ability to focus more (mentally). Being mentally focused is almost of equal importance as the entire exercise itself. To achieve any life goals you must be focused and well-rested. As a life goal, fitness is no exception. Regular and sound sleep is one of the ways to keep healthy so every now and then, carve out some time to slow down and rest.

5. Consistency In Exercise

Fitness doesn’t come easily. It takes consistent practice and won’t just come after a few visits to the gym every month. To stay in full fitness, you need to have and follow a strict exercising regimen. You should also operate in moderation. Over stressing your muscles could cause a dilapidating breakdown. Don’t be too eager to bet fit that you push your body over the edge.

6. Don’t Joke With Breakfast

You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This saying is actually quite true. No matter how busy you become, you should always have some time for breakfast. It wakes up and sharpens your brain for the day’s challenges and provides your brain with the nutrients necessary to continue daily functions. An ideal breakfast also ensures that your body has enough juice in the tank for optimal performance. Eating breakfast enables you to maintain regular blood sugar levels and an ideal body weight, mostly because with enough sugar in your bloodstream, you are less likely to overindulge later in the day.

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7. Participate In Aerobics

Aerobics is a way of exercising that’s fun to do. Mainly dancing, aerobics harnesses your concentration into exercising and being more physically active in a way that won’t make you notice when time is fast spent. It combines rhythmic aerobic movements with muscle stretching and muscular development routines with the ultimate goal of improving all elements of fitness; strength, cardiovascular improvements, etc. It’s also really enjoyable.

8. Yoga

Yoga is an excellent way to calm the mind and stretch vital muscles in the body. With yoga, your mind becomes clearer and your body becomes more loose, lighter and flexible (of course). T combines both physical and mental exercise in a serene and peaceful environment. When your brain feels stressed, yoga cold be a good outlet to ease stress.

9. Walk More

A simple walk, although it seems little or infinitesimal, could go a long way in improving your overall fitness. It can help your body stay svelte, alleviate your fat and cholesterol levels, strengthen your bones and keep your blood pressure in a good range. It could also lower your risk for a number of diseases (heart-related conditions, for example). Another advantage of walking is that it’s excellent for multitasking purposes; you can engage in it while getting ready for the day’s work or performing some other task. Also, a number of studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can help clear the mind, engage the brain and improve memory retention.

10. Do More Of Swimming

Swimming is one of the best workouts. It has a plethora of advantages. For one, it eases joint strain as the water’s density relieves your joints of any pain and enhances fluidity. Recent research has also found out that swimming can improve your state of mind and put you in a better, more welcoming mood. It also helps you burn unnecessary calories, fats and improves your cardiovascular strength. For more than one reason, swimming is advantageous to every human being.

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Tanvir Zafar

Software Engineer at GCUF

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Published on September 20, 2018

15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts.

Well… you’re wrong!

Everyone needs stretching! Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain – stretching can help you. Stretching – static or dynamic – comes with myriads of benefits – such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness – which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

For the purpose of this article, though, we’ll zero in on static stretching and take a look at its benefits and when it should be done. Finally I’ll cap it up by revealing 15 great static stretching exercises that’ll help keep your whole body in tip-top condition. So sit back, relax and enjoy!

Benefits of static stretching

Static stretching comes with tons of benefits that can help you to make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

1. Improved flexibility

Alright! Here’s the deal – if you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. And luckily enough, static stretching is all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1] And although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretching has been shown to greatly increase joint flexibility[2] and tissue length,[3] which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

2. Decreased risk of injury

If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and time again, that performing the right stretch exercises pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

So, how does it work? Well, think of it this way:

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When you stretch you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

3. Increased blood flow and nutrient supply to the joints

Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation and removal of metabolites.

For static stretching though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5] Thus, blood flow increases.

4. Improvement in recovery

If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling with sore muscles… for days!

Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibres back to their tip-top condition.

So, how does stretching come in? See…that’s the thing, research has shown that practicing static stretching after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released and this encourages the inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

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  • Improved relaxation
  • Increased movement efficiency
  • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
  • Reduction in muscular tension
  • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
  • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
  • Provision of relief from cramping

Alrighty! Now that it’s crystal clear that stretching does your body a world of good, let’s dive right into the actual stretching exercises.

15 Great static stretching exercises you should start doing

Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

1. Neck stretch

    While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head and place the other arm straightly on your side.

    • Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck.
    • Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.
    • Repeat for the opposite side.

    2. Chest Stretch

      Stand right, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks.

      • While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you, until you feel the stretch in your chest.
      • Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

      3. Cross-body shoulder stretch

        Stand right or sit tall

        • Extend one arm to your front to shoulder height.
        • Grab the extended arm with your other arm and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight.
        • Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder.
        • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for the other arm.

        4. Triceps stretch

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          • Lift your arms overhead with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow.
          • Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps.
          • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the other arm.

          5. Biceps stretch

            • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
            • With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you.
            • While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders and chest.
            • Hold for about 30 seconds before release.

            6. Wrist stretch

              • While Standing straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
              • Grab your right fingers with your left hand and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch
              • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite arm.

              7. Side stretch

                • Stand straight with your feet hip-wide apart.
                • Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side.
                • Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side.
                • Maintain this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                8. Abdominal stretch

                  • Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up.
                  • While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push up your upper body from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs.
                  • Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                  9. Reclined spinal twist

                    • Lie down facing the ceiling, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor.
                    • While keeping the right leg extended, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.
                    • Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground and you should feel the stretch around your back
                    • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                    10. Low-back stretch

                      • Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent.
                      • Hold your shins and pull up your knees toward your chest.
                      • This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back.
                      • Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                      11. Hip flexor stretch

                        • Stand right in a standard lunge position.
                        • Place your two hands on your hips.
                        • Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe.
                        • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                        12. Glutes stretch

                          • Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor.
                          • Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent.
                          • Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes.
                          • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

                          13. Quadriceps stretch

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                            • Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture.
                            • With your left hand, grab a pole, wall or anything durable for balance.
                            • With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.
                            • Keep your knees close together while doing this and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps.
                            • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the other side.

                            14. Hamstring stretch

                              • Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent.
                              • Reach forward with your right hand and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.
                              • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg.
                              • If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                              15. Calf stretch

                                • Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you.
                                • Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.
                                • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg.
                                • If you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                When should you be doing static stretches?

                                Static stretching is great…when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up exercises before an explosive workout session.

                                This is because static stretching exercises have a “cool-down” effect on the muscles and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                So, does that mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out? Certainly not! You can, but it should be kept to the barest minimum.

                                Dynamic stretches – that involve more movement – are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body to prepare better for the work ahead.

                                The bottom line

                                Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running, you need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training. And that’s the whole point of stretching exercises.

                                So, starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                Just remember to keep these stretches a part of your post-workout dessert for maximum benefit.

                                You’ve got this!

                                Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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