Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Exercise Tip for Weight Loss Success: Stretch It Out

When I say to stretch it out I'm not contradicting myself about not needing a long workout...I'm talking about stretching out your muscles.

One of the biggest mistakes people make, especially as we get older, is we think we can just exercise without stretching. This is a way a lot of injuries happen. And injuries can keep us for exercising at all...which definitely inhibits weight loss success...and besides, they don't feel good!

So warm up your body before you exercise, and also cool down when you are finished.

What makes a good warm up and cool down? That is going to vary depending on the level of activity you are going to be doing and they type. In other words, if you are going to swim for an hour, you need a different warm up then if you are going for a walk around the block.

For your stretch, focus on the muscles you will be using during the workout. In other words, if you are going for that walk around the block, stretch out your calves...probably not as critical that you stretch your arms and back. If you are doing a longer walk, or more of a power walk or hike then be sure to stretch your arms and back lightly as well...get your whole body loosened up because you will be moving all those muscles.

If you have a particular area that has been prone to injury in the past, spend a little extra time stretching it.

Once you have stretched, start your activity at a gentler pace for a bit and then pick it up. This is your warm up period. If you are just starting your fitness routine, you may only get through a warm up--for now! That's okay. Start where you are right now...keep at it, avoid injuries by stretching and you will be amazed in a couple months when you look back at the progress you have made.

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