By   February 25, 2011

Whether you just want to lose a few pounds, increase your level of health and feel better, or completely make over your body and be in the best shape of your life, the same basic principles apply. This article will shed some light on those principals and give you tips for reaching your goals.

In order to maximize your fitness routine, be sure to always stretch. Stretching will help to prevent injury. Many times you may think that you do not have to stretch, or that if your exercise is light enough that your body will stretch itself. This is never the case, and becomes more important the older you get. Always stretch to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout.

If the place you need to go to is within walking distance, walk there. If you live in an area where being on the road without a car is safe, do so. Walk to the store rather than driving there. If you own a bike, ride your bike there.

Training for a marathon can be no easy feat. Try setting small goals to achieve each week that eventually lead up to being able to run or walk a 5k marathon. For some, walking that distance takes little effort, but for others it can feel like climbing Mount Everest. Take small walks or runs each day and push yourself to make it further and further each week.

Sit ups and push ups are really good tools to use for getting a lean body. The best thing about sit ups and push ups is that you can do them almost anywhere. You can do push ups and sit ups at almost any time of the day, all you need is a small window of time and you can execute a quick workout.

Try the “glass is half full” approach to counting strenuous repetitions. Count backwards; as you make your way through to the end of your set, You will be focusing on the number of reps that you have left, not the painful realization of how many you have already completed. This is an excellent way to remain positive during your workouts.

Running hills is great exercise, but can sometimes be cumbersome. You can make it a little easier. While running up the hill, focus your eyes on the top of the hill and keep your head up. This will make it easier to breathe by opening up your airways.

Rather than seeing exercise as something you “must” do, try to see it as something you want to do! Love dancing? Then hit the nightclubs! Enjoy a good hike? Then grab your running shoes! Cleaning the house, taking a walk with an old friend, romping around in the backyard with your dog – if it’s something you enjoy doing, you’re much more likely to stick with it.

If you are traveling in a car, use rest stops as an opportunity to get a little exercise. They can be the perfect place to get rejuvenated for the next leg of your trip; take a brief jog or go on a short walk. These activities will help you feel less stiff and more alert so that you can continue your drive.

Try to avoid burnout during your workout sessions by keeping track of your pulse the next morning. If your pulse appears to be 10 bpm or much more than the normal pulse, it means that your body is still in a state of recovery and that you must take it easy.

Warming up and cooling down are important aspects of physical fitness routines. Warm ups are particularly important because they get the body prepared for physical activity which can lead to higher efficiency. Cool downs are just as important because they help bring muscles back to their original resting state following a workout which helps prevent strain or injury.

If you are going to use a bench, you should always test it first. If the bench is too hard, it may cause a misalignment in your spine that can weaken your arm. Test the bench by pushing a thumb into the padding. If you can feel the wood underneath the padding, find a better bench to use.

When trying to build up your biceps, a great tip is to bend your wrists while working out your biceps. This will allow you to hit the bicep muscles harder. To do this, you should slightly extend your wrists backward. Keep them in this position while you perform arm curls. Do this, and you will notice the results.

You need to improve your stride speed if you intend to take part in a sprint. In order to achieve this, you have to ensure your foot is always landing underneath your body rather than in the front. To propel yourself, push with the toes of your rear leg. With a bit of practice, you will probably see your running speed pick up the pace.

Do dips to increase the amount of strength that you have in your triceps. Start by finding a nice bench. Then put both your hand backwards on the bench with your elbows facing up. Then dip as low as you can for as long as you can.

A great way to keep your kids active is to take them on hikes. Find a state park near you and take them on a hike through the woods. You can make a miniature adventure out of it and have fun along the way. Your kids probably won’t even realize they’re exercising!

Sleep with your legs off the bed. If you run and need to increase the flexibility of your calf muscles, try sleeping on your stomach with your legs off the mattress. This may be uncomfortable at first, but gravity takes over and will lightly stretch your muscles for you all night.

Your fitness level is determined by how intensely you monitor your food intake, and your exercise program. There are things you can do to help the process along, and we have highlighted some of those in this article. If you set your mind to your specific goal and follow these tips, you will see results in no time.