by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~
Peacefulmind.com

DO Start Off Moderately –
Work your way into a routine. Going overboard after a long respite from exercise may result in injury, or at least disappointment. Your workout shouldn’t do either, so build up from a moderate beginning.

DON’T Over-Exercise –
For maximum benefit at minimum injury risk, the body needs to rest and recover. At least a 24-hour rest after heavy muscle strain is advised. Stagger workouts between heavy and light strain. For example, you can alternate a weight training routine with biking.

DO Warm Up and Cool Down –
A low-impact warm-up before any exercise is essential. It warms the muscles, makes them more limber and easier to stretch, which results in a better workout. It also helps to prevent injury.Cooling down after exercising is also important as it relaxes the muscles, lowers the heart rate, and helps the body to recover from the stress of a workout. It’ll make you feel better immediately after the workout, and the next morning.

DON’T Push an Injury –
Listen to your body. If you feel pain, stop. Muscle and joint pain can mean many things — pushing a small hurt can lead to big problems later on. If pain persists more than a few days, see a doctor.

DO Consult a Trainer –
If you belong to a gym, you may have the opportunity to consult a certified trainer. He or she can help you craft a reasonable workout plan, tailored for your goals. A trainer can also teach proper form with exercise equipment. Even if you are experienced, bad habits can be developed.

DON’T Get Bored –
Don’t get bored with your workout. New exercises can break the monotony, and the excitement of perfecting new skills can help motivate. Since different exercises work different parts of the body, a diverse workout will aid overall fitness.

DO Find a Workout Partner –
If motivation is your problem, a workout partner might be the solution. A partner can motivate you to workout when you normally might not, and can help improve your workout by watching form, encouraging extra effort, and pacing. Try to pick a partner with abilities equal to your own.

DON’T Lose Concentration –
Preoccupation with outside situations can counteract the benefits of a workout. For example, you might decrease intensity as you lose concentration. And not paying attention to a workout can lead to sloppy style and potential injury. Instead, use the time to concentrate on proper form and control. It will lead to a better workout, greater benefits, and a more relaxing experience.

DO Watch What You Eat –
Diet is just as much a part of fitness as exercise, and what you eat will affect every aspect of your workout. A proper diet also influences the results of you fitness plan, since it helps build muscle and decrease the percentage of fat in your overall body weight.

DON’T Dehydrate Yourself –
When exercising, the body needs four to eight ounces of water every 20 minutes to replace water loss. If you become thirsty during a workout, you’ve already passed out of a “safe” stage of hydration. Take fluids immediately. If you are working out for more than an hour, you may want to consider sports drinks, as the extra carbohydrates help retain body water. But try them out first, as not all work, and some may cause unwanted reactions. Always avoid caffeine or alcohol when exercising, both of which further dehydrate your body.

DO Stretch –
Flexibility is one of the most important factors of fitness. Stretching before, during and after a workout will result in better performance, good posture, fewer injuries, and overall better fitness.

DO Have Fun! –
The benefits to working out don’t pay off if you don’t enjoy yourself. This isn’t an excuse for not exercising, as it’s still vital to your health. But finding a workout that you enjoy will make the difference when setting a workout schedule that will stick.

Benefit from exercise…