Practice Safe Sets Get to work.
story marlee cox photos brent pearson
Whether it’s to start conditioning for a fall sport, or to fit into that Homecoming dress purchased in a fit of optimism (two months previously), hitting the gym is a great new school year resolution. A warning, though, to students planning a new workout regime: if one doesn’t exercise correctly, it can be just as harmful as helpful. Failing to hydrate adequately, stretching improperly, or going too hard for too long are all great ways to sustain an injury (which will surely set your exercise routine back a few weeks). These tips will help you stay in shape and out of the hospital.
H2O, yo. Few people need to be reminded how important staying hydrated is to a successful work-out. Drink about two cups of cool water before exercising, to ensure you begin as strongly as possible, and replenish any lost fluids (about one cup of water per twenty minutes of exercise) after you’ve completed your routine. Taking quick sips during strenuous activity-- when needed-- is not necessarily a bad thing, either. Just make sure the water isn’t too cold-- that could shock your system and freeze your muscles.
Keep up with the times. Many novices start a wok-out with a few minutes of stretching. Stretching is key to getting the most out of a work-out, but it shouldn’t necessarily come first. “Research has changed a little,” said Coach Jill Wojewuczki. “Now, you hear that stretching cold muscles causes injury. Coach Wu recommends jogging for five to ten minutes, or doing some other low-impact activity for a comparable amount of time, to raise your heart rate and prepare the respiratory and cardiovascular systems for increased strain. Stretching after a work-out is great, too.
Be flexible. Repeating the same movements and routine can wear on certain muscles while leaving others weak and unexerted. To ensure you’re conditioning every part of your body, vary your exercise routine and save different activities for different days. “You don’t want to do the same muscles day after day,” said Wojewuczki.
Start slow. “Ease into it,” said Coach Wojewuczki when asked to give general advice to students looking to get started exercising. “Be smart—stay within your own limits. Stretch before and after. Resting and staying hydrated are huge.” After following these steps, though, you stick to push-ups in the gym and not sit-ups in the hospital bed.
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