Exercise is a key component to keeping your body and mind fit. Everyone will benefit from working out, but only if you do so correctly. Many different things could go wrong during a workout, so it is important that you prepare and use the proper precautions. An accident that leads to injury will hamper your workout progress more than just about anything else, so it pays to be extra careful.
you are picking up dumbbells for the first time, or you are someone
who has been consistently pumping iron for 30 years, everyone needs to follow
some basic guidelines for staying sage at the gym. Gym equipment is designed to
be as safe as it can be, but no design in the world is going to be able to
account for human error. So, play it safe and you should be sweating and aching
in all the right places.
Keep reading to
find out how you can prevent an injury while training with dumbbells.
Stretch Before and After
The first bit of
advice is something that a fair amount of exercise enthusiasts seem to forget
about more often than not. Stretching is so important to get your
muscles, tendons, and joints ready for the upcoming punishment. It helps make
everything looser, oxygenated, and generally more prepared to exercise.
By stretching out your muscles properly, before and after, you are also going to do your best to prevent pesky muscle tears that can put you out of commission for a long time. Just do your best to get a proper stretch and get your blood flowing before you really start your workout. Thats one of the best ways to avoid a dumbbell injury.
Know Your Limits
Yes, the point of exercising and working out is to get stronger and better at the particular exercises you do. However, this does not mean that you should push yourself too hard too soon. Your body can only take so much punishment before it starts to ache, so it is probably a bad idea to add an extra 50 kilos to your max bench press. Using too much weight too soon is one of the most common rookie mistakes that can result in major injuries, so it pays to know your limits.
Your limits here
dont have to be on weight alone, as not everyone is going to work out with weights.
Cardiovascular activities such as running and cycling is are great ways to get
your heart pumping so you can burn off excess calories, but only if you listen
to your body. If your legs start cramping or you start feeling the pain you
need to know it is time to stop or drastically slow down.
Why is it important to take it slow?
A dumbbell workout, having in mind the muscle it can target, will always be a co-depended one. This means that you will rarely ever do it in isolation from other types of training. Most people put their dumbbell workout on chest day, when they can work their entire pectoral area, but also the biceps.
It goes without
saying that a demanding routine on the bench will leave little room for a
demanding session with a pair of dumbbells. So what is my advice? Take the
first part of the workout slow, and you can exert more power when you finally
lift those dumbbells.
The same goes for doing cardio, or just about anything else. If the dumbbell workout succeeds another one, make sure that you pace yourself during the first part of your training session, as to avoid a dumbbell injury.
This tip can save you from hours of agonizing muscle cramps, which as anyone whos ever experienced this will tell you really, really hurts. When working out, you are naturally going to sweat a lot, thats if you are doing it right and youre giving your muscles a thorough workout. Keep in mind that everything that goes out of your body is going to need to be replenished.
Make sure to keep lots of water on hand and even a sports drink or two to help replenish those electrolytes and salts lost through sweat. Water, really is the essence of life, and you are going to be doing your body a big favour by staying hydrated while exercising.
Listen to Your Body to avoid a dumbbell injury
Everyone is going to have different abilities and skill levels at the gym, so it is difficult to say exactly what an individual workout should look like. Your best gauge of success with exercise is to listen to what your body is telling you. Some mild aches and pains are a good thing and come with the territory, but overdoing the set is one of the ways to cause a dumbbell injury.
If you notice
something is too painful or just not right, it is time to listen as your body
is telling you something is wrong. Ultimately, though, your body will take some
time to adjust to the workout and its very likely youll feel stiff the next
day, but if you take on board the aforementioned tips then youll increase your
bodys conditioning and improve recovery time.
movements with the dumbbells
In order to get the most out of your dumbbell workout, you will have to perform slow and controlled movements. This is the only way to activate the proper muscles, and also ensure the greatest amount of burn.
But going slow is not only about efficiency. It has to do with staying injury-free as well. If you perform the repetitions with a jerky movement, you can easily strain yourself and be out of the gym for days.
Using the dumbbell for different exercises
The only rule you need to remember when using the dumbbell for different types of exercise, is to keep correct form. If , say, you are doing a front loaded squat, where the weight is supplied by the dumbbell, you only have to make sure to keep the proper posture for the squat.
It is also important to bend your back slowly when putting the weights down, since most of the lower back injuries happen after the set is actually over. Dumbbell relate injuries definitely fall within this category!
All in all, if youre the type of person who regularly works out then youll already know that proper pace and energy awareness are the best precaution mechanisms when it comes to injury prevention. Always remember that before you start to work out you should be adequately fed and hydrated. Do also note that you have to stretch your muscles to prevent muscle strains.
Try not to overwork yourself and know your limits, since for as much as you might want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, you need to get there incrementally and over-lifting is the fastest way to an early gym hiatus. The best way to avoid a dumbbell injury is to follow some of the tips above, and take it one step at a time.
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Making the Most of Apple Fitness+
An email from Life Time hit my inbox a few days ago with a subject line that immediately caught my attention: “Action Required! Renew your Apple Fitness+ promo code to continue your complimentary subscription.”
For the past four months, Apple Fitness+ has been an integral part of my health and wellness routine. It’s been an unexpected yet awesome addition to the many offerings in the Life Time Digital app experience. As a Life Time team member, I’ve had a front-row seat to all the available features in Life Times digital app — training programs, educational content, and live-streaming classes, in addition to Apple Fitness+ — and letting the latter lapse wasn’t an option for me.
You see, I’ve been a hybrid workout routine since earlier this year, following Coach Anika’s “Leaner and Stronger” program in the app, and then supplementing the strength sessions — and often replacing the low-impact/recovery days altogether — with offerings from Apple Fitness+.
I’ve grown accustomed to taking walks with the likes of Anderson Cooper, Misty Copeland, and Jane Fonda, thanks to the “Time to Walk” feature. I like the convenience of quick-hit HIIT finishers with Bakari and treadmill workouts with Scott and Sam — or going to my yoga mat and finding my breath (and moments of peace) with Jonelle and Jessica.
These workouts, whether 10 minutes or 45, have helped keep me accountable, while also inspiring me to try new things and add a little more variety to my routine. These are a few of the reasons I’m not ready to let it lapse:
1. The wide range of options. With more than 10 categories of workout types — and new classes being offered every week in each one — there’s a ton of high-quality content to choose from. I’ve done 30-minute treadmill workouts that have left me breathless, 20-minute HIIT sessions that have made me burn, and 10-minute Mindful Cooldowns that are ideal for stretching after a long day of sitting or unwinding before bed. I’m not sure workout boredom is a possibility.
2. The array of top-notch instructors. I have yet to encounter an Apple Fitness+ trainer who hasn’t brought it all to their class. While not all of them are great fits for me, they are all knowledgeable, engaging, and energetic. They are diverse in their identities and abilities, and they are phenomenal at taking your mind off the work at hand — without compromising form or quality. The mindful strategies they use to encourage and motivate have helped me believe in myself and push through when I otherwise might have slowed down or stopped.
3. The music. Apple’s license to music of all sorts is unmatched. I’ve discovered some of the latest Latin hits, run to the top get-on-the-dance floor songs, and more. Plus, I can save the playlists in Apple Music, so I can listen again (and again) later on.
4. The integration with my Apple Watch. This might be my favorite feature: The connection between my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV and Apple Watch so I can monitor my workout intensity is seamless. I love seeing my Activity rings close — and using the burn bar in the cardio workouts to gauge how my activity efforts stack up compared with others who’ve completed the workout.
5. The convenience factor. My iPhone is with me most of the time — and I wear my Apple Watch every day. So, the fact that I can do these workouts (along with others from Life Time in the app) anywhere helps me stay on track with my health and fitness, no matter where I am. On a recent weekend getaway with a couple of my girlfriends, for instance, we snuck in 20-minute bodyweight strength sessions each morning — a good sweat before a day of lounging poolside was just what we needed.
Apple Fitness+ also offers targeted workouts programs for beginners, older adults, and during pregnancy — I’ll be watching for future offerings that match my goals. So far, I’ve gotten a lot out of this feature and am excited to dip my toes into others as they become available.
For more about the Apple Fitness+ partnership with Life Time and how it’s included in membership, visit Lifetime.life/join/digital-membership.html.
Current Life Time members: To activate or renew your Apple Fitness+ access, download the Life Time Digital app and simply click on the Apple Fitness+ tile and follow the instructions.
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Exercising After a C-Section
After giving birth, many women wonder when they can get back to their exercise routine, but it can be particularly confusing for women who delivered via cesarean, or C-section.
“[A C-section] is a major abdominal surgery, and just like any other surgery, it takes time to heal,” says Blair Green, DPT, pelvic-health specialist and coauthor of Go Ahead, Stop and Pee: Running During Pregnancy and Postpartum. Typically, experts recommend waiting six weeks after surgery before restarting your exercise routine, but women who are recovering from a C-section may need to wait longer.
Not only does the incision itself need to heal before you can start exercising, but the core muscles — which are active in every movement we make — have to be retrained.
“If we cut through [our core muscles], they’re essentially ‘injured,’ and even though the injury was a surgery, they still need time to heal and retrain themselves,” Green says.
Here are some tips on when — and how — to exercise after a C-section.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER SURGERY
- Protect your incision
“Initially, you want to protect your incision,” says Jennifer Joslyn, DPT, a physical therapist at Motion Minnesota who specializes in pelvic health. This means avoiding movements that could irritate the incision, like excessive twisting, bending, and lifting heavy objects. Ideally, you’ll avoid these types of movements for the first few weeks following surgery.
“Most women don’t feel well enough to even do much more than just household walking distances and taking care of the baby until about three weeks out,” says Elizabeth Chumanov, DPT, PhD, co-coordinator of the Active Moms Clinic at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Sports Rehabilitation Clinic.
- Practice diaphragmatic breathing
While you may not be able — or necessarily want — to exercise while you recover, there are small things you can do during those six weeks to help you begin restoring core strength and function. “One thing I always recommend is deep diaphragmatic breathing,” Green says.
Your diaphragm is a dome-shaped sheet of muscle that separates your chest and abdominal cavities, and acts as the primary muscle of respiration. It actually works with your abdominal and pelvic-floor muscles — a group of muscles on the bottom of your pelvis that support your pelvic organs and help with posture. This means that simply activating the diaphragm can help restore the function of your entire core.
But also that deep breathing helps you heal, because it transports blood and oxygen to your tissues,” Green says.
To do it, lie on your back, place both hands on your rib cage, and take 10 to 20 deep breaths. As you inhale, you should feel air coming into your ribs and abdomen. “And then, when you breathe out, you should feel your ribs funneling down and in, and your abdomen should drop,” Green says.
In an ideal world, you would practice deep breathing three or four times a day. That said, many new moms are simply trying to adjust to their new routine, and may struggle with adding anything else to their plate. So, Green recommends focusing on deep breathing for five minutes at the start and/or end of your day.
- Don’t overdo it
Light walking is OK, too, as long as there’s no pain, Green says. But if you were on bedrest for any length of your pregnancy, you’ll want to take greater care with starting any kind of activity — light walking included. “I know a couple of women who were on bedrest for six months of their pregnancy, and in those situations, I would not recommend waking up two weeks after you had a baby and going for a walk,” Green says.
AFTER YOUR SIX-WEEK CHECKUP
- Start with basic strength exercises
Once your OB/GYN has cleared you for exercise, typically six weeks after giving birth, you can start incorporating basic strength exercises like squats, lunges, bird-dogs, and planks. In the early stages of rebuilding your fitness, avoid high-intensity and high-impact activities like heavy strength training, running, bootcamp-style and metabolic-conditioning circuits, and plyometrics. You want to make sure your core and pelvic floor are healed and strong enough to handle those types of dynamic movements.
- Ease into running, plyometrics, and heavy weightlifting
If you’re a runner, Green recommends giving yourself eight to 12 weeks to recover and retrain your abdominal muscles, and starting with a run-walk program. You can also do low-impact cardio exercise like biking, rowing, or the elliptical to rebuild your fitness before you jump into running again. And if you do plyometrics or heavy weightlifting, wait three to six months, Green says.
- Pay attention to how you feel
When you do exercise, listen to what your body is telling you. If you experience pain, heaviness, or pressure in the pelvic floor, doming or coning in your abdomen, urine or stool leakage, or any pain or irritation in your C-section scar, this could be a sign that the exercise should be modified, Joslyn says.
If your abdomen pushes out during an exercise (referred to as “coning” or “doming”), for example, chances are your abdominal muscles aren’t strong enough yet to handle that exercise. Or, it may mean that you need to breathe or activate your core in a different way.
- Reactivate your core muscles
“When you’re pregnant, your body has to make room for your baby, and your tissues and muscles are stretching and expanding,” Joslyn says, “and so once you have your baby, initially it may be hard to find those core muscles again and activate them.”
To help women relearn how to activate their core, Joslyn recommends an exercise that targets your deep core muscle — the transverse abdominis. Here’s how to do the move:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the ground.
- With your fingers, find your hips on both sides of the front of your pelvis. Then, move your fingers in 1 inch.
- Inhale, keeping your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles relaxed.
- Imagine there is a string in-between your hip bones. As you exhale, imagine that string pulling your hip bones together to engage your transverse abdominis.
Once you know how to reactivate your core muscles, you can better activate them during any other exercise.
- Try to be patient
Remember: Just because your doctor has cleared you for exercise doesn’t mean you’re mentally or physically ready, or that you can pick up where you left off before your pregnancy, experts say.
It’s important to adjust your exercises and timeline according to how you feel and steer clear of self-judgments that tell you that you “should” be healing or progressing differently. Some women feel great at their six-week OB/GYN appointment, whereas others feel weak and fatigued and may even be in pain.
“Everybody’s just a little bit different in terms of that [exercise] timeline,” Joslyn says.
Try not to rush into exercise, or chase the unrealistic goal of reaching your pre-baby shape as quickly as possible. Remember that your body went through a lot of changes during your pregnancy — and continues changing even after the baby is born. Rather than get hung up on ideas of reclaiming your pre-baby body or achieving an unrealistic post-baby body for you, practice the mindset of meeting your body exactly as it is each and every day.
“We need to respect the recovery time,” Green says, “and that often gets lost in the shuffle.”
Have you tried this NEW workout plan that everyone is talking about?
Stay Healthy And Active With These Fitness Tips
Overall fitness isn't just about cardio. Although cardio is a major component of weight loss and heart health, it is important to incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen. Strength training builds muscle mass and helps you burn more calories post-workout. Follow these strength-training tips to amp up your workout and get a complete workout.
Alternative sports can offer people good fitness options for people, alongside the more regular forms of exercise. Free-running is a sport that emphasizes full body fitness. Climbing, running, and general agility are main requirements to free-run as you run, climb, and jump across many obstacles. Not only are they fun, but they unleash your inner child's desire to run and jump over railings, off the beaten path of adulthood.
If you want to reach your goals in terms of fitness, then you need to work backwards. You should pick a date of completion for your fitness goals and work backwards, listing off all the short-term goals in between. This way you look at your fitness goals as deadlines.
The best way to get children interested in fitness is to be a good example and by being involved with them as much as possible. Try taking an exercise class, playing tennis or hitting a baseball together. Not only will you both benefit from the increased activity, but it's a great way to maintain a close relationship.
To help you include exercise into a tight schedule, you should walk whenever possible. That could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the office or parking at the back of a large lot to give you a brisk brief walk to the store. When it comes to working out, every little bit counts.
Add resistance training to your exercise plan. Resistance training helps build muscle. The more muscle you have in your body, the more quickly and efficiently you can burn calories. Resistance bands or light weights are good options for working out at home. You can also use your own body weight to provide resistance. Exercises, such as push-ups and squats, make your muscles bear the weight of your body and that builds strength.
After every workout, one thing you may want to do is take protein. This can be either in the form of a protein shake, a protein bar, or basically any meat product. This allows for your muscles to recover faster from your workout and overall make your muscles grow larger.
Decide to walk for 45 minutes a day instead of 30. Walking for 45 minutes has been scientifically proven by Duke University to result in fat and weight loss. This can equal up to 30 pounds of weight loss per year for just an added 15 minutes a day. For maximum weight loss, try walking up a hill instead of down.
Obviously, there are many options when it comes to working strength moves into your fitness routine. Keep doing your cardio, but additionally, choose any number of the tips mentioned to keep your muscles strong and prevent injury. Not only will you increase your calorie burn, but you'll have awesome muscle definition to boot.