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If you exercise you want to make sure you are getting the best out of your workout. I mean what's the sense of dragging your butt to a strength-training or cardio class if you aren't going to walk away feeling like you actual accomplished something? Here are a few tips to take into account the next time you workout – tips that will help you get the best results for your mind and body.

 

Locking up

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When you're lifting weights it's important to remember not to lock your knees or elbows but to keep them soft. This will not only help you reduce your chances of joint injuries, but will also make sure your muscles do the work, helping you get the most of your workout.

 

Monday Funday

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What you do on the first day of the week will set the tone of the rest of the week. So start it off well by NOT skipping that Monday morning workout. If you aren't feeling like getting your week started by sweating it out, just remember how good you feel afterwards and how proud you will be of yourself - not to mention how much easier the rest of the day will seem after a good workout. But make sure you keep it up for the rest of the week. The longer break you take in between workouts means any gains you've made in cardiovascular endurance or strength will be lost.

 

Eat right

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You should never eat a big meal before a workout because when you exercise the blood flow is directed to the muscles that you are working on, meaning there is limited flow to your digestive system.

 

Strength Training

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When we are looking to lose weight many of us focus on cardio exercise like running or walking. But because muscle mass declines with age, it's important to add strength-training to your routine.

 

Squats

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Squats are one of the most effective exercises to do for lifters. But research shows that squatting while your heels are raised will improve your range of motion. When you raise your heels, such as on a plank or a weight disc, you are activating the glutes, quads and hamstrings, which increases the effectiveness of the workout and also reduces any risk of straining your lower back.

 

Breaks

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One of the most important things to remember when trying to get the most out of your workout is to not overdo it. Your muscles need time to recover so make sure you take a break between strength sessions that target the same muscles. This will give them time to rest so they can rebuild and perform their best the next time around. On your break days you can still help your body feel good by doing some simple stretches.

 

Posture

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When you have good body posture your workout will be better. So make sure you work on your body alignment all day long, focusing on stretching and not slouching during your regular daily activities.

 

Refuel

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Because our muscles absorb protein the best after a workout it's important to opt for a protein-heavy meal such as chicken or fish after you exercise. Even a good protein shake will give your body the fuel it needs to soldier on throughout the day. Make sure you have these light meals or snack within the first 30 to 60 minutes after your workout.

 

Warm-up/Cool-down

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Sometimes it's tough just to fit in a good workout class during the day and the thought of taking time to stretch or cool down seems like a waste of time. But it's important. Stretching before you exercise makes your workout easier because your muscles will be more elastic and your blood will be flowing. Stretching after exercising will help to reduce injury and body aches.

 

Hydration

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Even minor dehydration will affect your endurance and blood flow so it's important to make sure you stay hydrated. You should remember that the more you sweat, the more you need to drink throughout the day. The best idea to make sure you stay hydrated all day is to keep a full water bottle with you at all times and drink before you become thirsty.