Fitness is important, whether you are an athlete trying to beat a personal record or someone recovering from an injury. The human body is meant to move, but the modern sedentary lifestyle means that many people aren’t getting enough physical activity. Being in top shape can drastically improve your physical and mental health, as well as protect you from injuries and illnesses. To safely build the body of your dreams, you need an appropriate fitness program and strong health habits.
Read on to learn how to improve your physical fitness.
Before embarking on your journey towards physical fitness, you should first identify your goals. Do you primarily want to lose weight, or do you want to gain muscle mass? Do you want to focus on increasing your endurance, flexibility, strength, or a combination of these? What you want to achieve will dictate the fitness program that will help you reach your goals.
You also need to assess your current condition. You will require a progressive program that starts with low exercise intensity, particularly if you are unaccustomed to exercise. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are recovering from sports injuries, you will also need to explore safe alternatives to traditional exercises.
Consult first with your doctor, so they can identify any contraindications. They can also instruct you on ways to identify if you need to modify exercise intensity based on your condition.
It’s also helpful to assess your fitness level before starting with a fitness program. Know your basic metrics, such as your body mass index and your waist circumference, so that you have a general idea of your starting fitness level.
You may also perform fitness tests to assess your endurance, strength, and flexibility. Typical tests involve measuring how many exercise repetitions you can do within specific durations or how far you can stretch in different positions. You may also measure how much time it takes for you to walk, run, cycle, or swim a specific distance.
Design your fitness program based on your goals, making sure to avoid starting with too intense exercises. Your program should have a diverse set of workouts that each target specific muscle groups. Introducing variety helps prevent boredom and reduces the risk of overtraining any particular muscle. Your program should allow for enough recovery between sessions to give your body time to rebuild and heal. Finally, your program should evolve with time as you grow stronger.
Your exercise routine should include cardiovascular exercises, which increase your heartbeat and pushes your lungs to work harder. These aerobic exercises typically emphasize endurance since your body will have to expend exergy over prolonged durations.
Aerobic exercises increase your stamina by stimulating your heart to beat stronger and your lungs to become more efficient at introducing oxygen into your body. Cardiovascular training also helps improve your metabolism, bolster your immune system, and reduce the risk of many diseases, particularly those affecting arteries or your heart. When used appropriately, aerobic exercises can help you manage any chronic health conditions. Finally, these exercises can significantly improve your mood.
Common cardiovascular exercises include walking, running, cycling, and swimming. Any repetitive physical movement that continuously raises your heart rate for several minutes can be considered a cardiovascular exercise. You should aim to perform at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or at least 75 of intense activity per week to keep healthy.
Many exercises focus on developing strength. While these movements also stimulate the cardiovascular system, they focus on strengthening various muscle groups.
Strength training challenges parts of your body to move against significant resistance. Your muscles and joints have to distribute the additional mechanical stresses, so they rebuild to become stronger.
Strength training is effective in building and maintaining muscle mass and can help you manage the gradual loss of muscle that comes with age. Resistance training also increases bone strength and density by encouraging bone growth. The short bursts of activity from these workouts also train your heart to pump with stronger force.
While many weight training exercises involve equipment, other activities only rely on your body weight. Make sure to work with a certified trainer who can help you develop the correct form and reduce the risk of injuries.
Maintaining a strong body involves more than just exercise. Your body needs adequate nutrient intake to grow stronger, as well as enough time to recover between exercise sessions. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet and get enough sleep to ensure adequate recovery. Quit smoking and drinking alcohol, which can reverse many of the health benefits of an active lifestyle.
Sports Medicine in Connecticut
Building a healthy exercise program is key to improving your physical health. If you can commit to an appropriate program that includes cardiovascular exercises and strength training, you’re well on your way to a healthier body. Building healthy habits and consulting with your doctor are also key steps in reaching peak physical fitness.
With offices at multiple locations in Connecticut, Advanced Orthopedics New England provides accessible diagnostics and treatments for many orthopedic conditions. Our medical staff has extensive experience in managing general orthopedic conditions, and we specialize in sports medicine. Learn more by calling us at (860) 728-6740 or by setting up an appointment through our online form.