By   February 18, 2011

If you’re concerned about your body’s well-being but don’t know quite how to begin your fitness journey, this article is a great place to start. It’s perfectly normal to have questions; and, after all, knowing is half the battle! Here are some informative, easy to understand tips to guide you on your way to a healthy, physically fit lifestyle.

When you’re working through a fitness regimen, remember that you should always warm up. If you are under the age of forty, hold your stretches for thirty seconds. If you are over the age of forty, your stretches should be held for sixty seconds. Muscles become less limber as you age, so it is wise to adjust your workout to keep on top of these changes.

Here is a fitness tip! If you experience post-workout fatigue, try to avoid taking painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. While these drugs do well for problems like inflammation, they are not very effective after a workout. In fact, some experts warn that using these drugs can actually hinder muscle development. If possible, try and stick to a hot shower and a good stretch to ease your soreness!

To prevent injury while lifting weights on a bench, make sure the bench is well-cushioned. When the bench is too hard, it can throw your spine out of alignment as you exercise, which in turn can damage the nerves in your arms. An easy test is to press down on the bench. Being able to feel the wood is a sign you need to move to a different bench.

An exercise class is a great way of continuing your fitness routine through the winter months. Many people are less inclined to exercise during the winter, especially if they have an outdoor routine. Try signing up for something completely different to your regular exercise: if you typically cycle, try yoga. If running or jogging is your preferred routine, try free weights. Who knows, you may find that you really enjoy this new form of exercise, and if nothing else, it’s a healthy way to get through the dark winter months!

If you want to bench press without injuring yourself, proper form is a must. Remember to always lie completely flat on the bench. A great way to always maintain the proper form is to leave your feet firmly planted on the ground, and always grip the bar no more than shoulder width apart. This will allow a fluid, natural motion and enable you to keep a solid form.

One should consider what they want to get from a gym before they pay for a membership. If one likes swimming then they should look for a gym with a pool. If one likes to run then they should look for a gym with a running track. Such important things can make big differences to how satisfied one is with their gym and actually go there to work on their fitness.

Exercising with a friend or a group of friends is a great way to keep yourself motivated. Not only is it a lot of fun to work out or play sports with friends, a friendly rivalry will keep you on your toes and at the top of your game. Just make sure that the rivalry doesn’t get in the way of your friendship.

This unexpected move can effectively improve your running form: Instead of running more slowly for longer distances, do just the opposite. Increasing your speed while running shorter distances will help you to build more muscle tone and increase your endurance. This move will also make you less susceptible to sprains, strains, and other injuries.

Have you made up you mind to change your lifestyle by beginning an exercise program to become better physically fit? If so, it is imperative that you evaluate yourself closely to see if you are physically ready for it. Doctors have recommended that males at the age of 45 and older and women at the age of 55 and older should check with their family physician first to get a medical clearance before beginning strenuous exercise.

To maximize the effects of your workouts, make sure to eat immediately after working out. Shakes full of protein are a great thing to consume after your workouts because they can help you build muscle very quickly. Try making one with fat-free frozen yogurt, fruit, egg substitute, and some cocoa powder for a great post-workout boost.

You should stop using a weight belt when performing most lifting exercises. Over time, a weight belt will weaken your abs and lower-back muscles. The only times that you should wear a weight belt is when you perform large lifts, such as squats, deadlifts and overhead presses.

Run with fully inflated lungs to help with endurance and speed. Your legs, as well as the rest of your body, need the maximum amount of oxygen they can get, especially when you are exercising. Make sure that you are pulling enough air into your lungs to make your belly push out.

If you are trying to focus on losing belly fat, do not work on your abs. Although you will gain muscle, you are not losing fat. It is okay to do sit ups and crunches, but incorporate more aerobic exercises into your routine in order to lose unwanted belly fat.

If being fit is something that you strive for, giving yourself small, achievable goals can go a long way to helping you become fit. Try running up and down your hallway or once or twice a day or doing lunges or sit-ups during commercial breaks of your favorite TV show. Small goals are easy to meet, easier to commit to, and can make all the difference in being able to keep up with a fitness plan.

Now that you’ve studied up on some tricks on how to achieve a great body, you can start implementing them in your everyday life. With your new wealth of information and also some motivation and confidence, you’ll be able to meet your fitness goals in practically no time at all!