It has become more and more essential to focus on our fitness owing to the many lifestyle changes over the years. The mostly sedentary work-place and little to no exercise are one of the biggest contributors to the increase in serious diseases like type-2 diabetes over the years. While this does motivate people to get off the couch and put some hours every week at the gym, but more often than not, it lasts for six months before fizzling out into the same sedentary routine.

There are some basic things one needs to understand about exercising before plunging into the deep end. It will not do to have an erratic workout schedule, in fact it will only go on to make your body more prone to aches, niggles and even serious injuries. Here are some important things one should consider when exercising:

Focus on your goals

It is important to understand what you want out of your workout. Do you want to get rid of that excess flab around the abdomen or do you want to fill out a skinny physique, understanding your own goals can help you focus better on your workout. Break down your final goal into weekly and daily goals, work with your trainer at the gym to understand how you can best achieve your goals. It is essential to be dedicated but even more important to be informed about how you can achieve your target without any undue stress on the body.

Don’t overestimate yourself

One of the biggest mistakes we make when we get back to working out after a long break is overestimating our own capabilities. This is one of the simplest routes to getting injured. It is important to start out slow and to gradually pick up pace. While it is essential to push yourself, it is just as crucial to understand your own limitations. Err on the side of caution, but having said that do not use this as an excuse to unnecessarily reduce the intensity of your workout.

Don’t exercise when ill

While having a cold should not necessarily deter you from going for your daily jog, but if you have the flu or are recovering from a serious disease it is important to take it easy. Talk to your doctor and trainer about the kind of exercise you should start with. Swimming or walking are some of the easiest and least stressful exercises for the body and can have amazing results. Exercising when you are unwell will only hurt you further when you are already hurting. Give yourself the time to heal completely before plunging back into the gym.

No change in the workout

Your body can get used to a routine very quickly, it is important to regularly change your workout to keep your muscles performing efficiently. Doing something every day can make you very good at it, it is known as the principal of adaptation in exercising. While this is brilliant if you are playing sports, it does not sit well when you are exercising for weight loss, increasing strength or for general physical fitness. Doing the same workout for too long can leave you at a state where no change is happening to your body. Find different ways to train and mix up your workouts to best achieve your goals.

Measure the right things

A lot of people give up working out after some time for the lack of results. It is important to know what results to measure when you have just begun working out. While muscle groups take time to develop, your general fitness and ability to do day-to-day tasks improves far faster. Subtle benefits like lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, are important markers when exercising. Tracking simple things like your heart rate can give you a fair idea of the amount of calories you have burned.

Never skip your warm-up and stretches

It is a cardinal sin in any form of exercise or sport to plunge into the workout without warming up first with the right kind of stretches. As we get older our muscles loose the flexibility they possessed, not stretching before a workout can result in cramps, or even injuries. It is optimal to stretch at least twice during your workout, one before beginning and once after you are done. The former helps prepare your muscles for exercise and the latter helps you gain better flexibility.

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