Author: Leo Akin
You should approach your workout the same way you approach your work and social outings: with preparedness. Most people overlook the small details of their workouts and then fail to reap the benefits of regular exercise. For example, something as simple as the fit of your running shoes can determine how well you enjoy your workout, your eagerness to repeat your workouts, your gait and even your risk of injury.
If you are to make your workout habitual, you need to pay attention to these details. Furthermore, you should keep improving your workout. Following the same exercise routine every day will not only make your workout less effective but it can also make exercising boring to you. And you do not need expensive exercise equipment to reinvigorate yourself and try new workout programs.
A little tweak to your current exercise regimen, an inexpensive accessory or a fresh perspective can go a long way in renewing your interest in regular exercise. The five small changes described below will not only make your workout more effective but also more fulfilling.
1. Monitor Your Heart Rate
Monitoring your heart rate is more important to your exercise goals than the amount of time spent on your workout. Along with the muscles, the heart is the other organ that benefits the most from regular exercise. It needs to be paced and raced regularly. Ideally, you should get your heart beat fast enough and into the anaerobic range for 20 seconds and then allow a minute or two of recovery.
To get to the anaerobic threshold, your heartbeat should be in the range 125 – 175 beats per minute. It is very difficult to time your pulse while exercising hard. Counting while pounding away is needless stress and the result you get is unlikely to be accurate. Therefore, you need a heart rate monitor to accurately measure how fast your heart beats during workouts.
2. Optimize with Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers are increasingly becoming popular. While only a very few of them can monitor heart rate, these wristband trackers can count the number of steps you take and calories burned throughout the day.
They may not be very accurate and they are ill-suited for some forms of exercises such as swimming and stair climbing, but they will only improve with time. However, there is a still place for the current generation of fitness trackers in your workout.
Where fitness trackers shine is their knack for pushing you to meet your preset fitness goals. These trackers can give you visual and audio reminders of how well you are meeting those goals. By simply reminding you to get up and move, these fitness trackers can improve your health awareness and turn your everyday activities into mini workouts.
3. Listen to a Workout Playlist
Music can definitely improve the length and efficiency your workout. By listening to your favorite songs, you can increase your endurance and even enjoyment of strenuous workout moves.
Listening to workout music is common among urban joggers but music can be useful for any form of exercise whether at home, on the road, in the pool or in a gym. Therefore, get a dedicated music player for your workout and build playlists to accompany your exercises.
If you swim regularly, then a water-resistant music player is recommended. If you do not want to leave ear buds in, there are a number of bone conduction audio players developed specifically for people who exercise.
4. Try Resistance Bands
If you have to take exercise equipment with you on the road, make it a kit of resistance bands. Resistance bands are lightweight, flexible, adaptable, inexpensive and easy to store. Although they are made of rubber bands with handles at the end, resistance bands are actually effective replacements for free weights.
They offer varying levels of resistance to make them ideal for any fitness level. If the highest resistance is too low for you, you can always combine multiple bands. There is no end to the variety of strength training exercise you can do with resistance bands. Therefore, these bands can add the needed variety to your workout.
5. Stay Hydrated
Lastly, it is important to stay hydrated while exercising. A sip of water while exercising ensures that you are replacing as much water as you are losing to sweat. Therefore, you need a dedicated water bottle for your workout.
Plastic water bottles are not recommended because they can slowly leach toxins such as BPA (bisphenol A) into your drinking water. Rather than plastic water bottles, get water bottles made of glass or BPA-free stainless steel.
In addition, make sure your workout water bottle is designed to be used with one hand. This way, you can flip open the cover, drink from the bottle and close it again with one hand without breaking the rhythm of your exercise.
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