Make Your Fitness Routine Count

Headed to the gym? Only have an hour? There are some simple tips to help you maximize the efficiency of the time you spend in the gym so you’ll get the most value for the time you spend there — and the money it costs to join.

There is no way to overstate the benefits of having a fit body. Not only will you look and feel great, but you will have a much more pleasant aging process. People who carry around extra weight for years have all sorts of problems with their joints and some of their organs when they get older, and they have many more health problems as a result. Get and stay fit now to make your older years (and the ones you have now) more enjoyable.

Make each workout count more by building the intensity. Don’t rest two minutes between sets in the weight room. Instead, set up two exercises that work different groups and move back and forth between them with no more than 10 or 15 seconds between each set. This is called a “superset” and works your body more by keeping your heart rate up.

Don’t always work through the same sets of exercises. Instead, prepare yourself by downloading workouts from a variety of sources. Lift weights a couple days a week, but then throw in a swim, or a game of racquetball, or a long bike ride. Pick up that old stump in your back yard and run up and down a hill with it. As long as you’re moving and working, you’re working out — and you won’t get bored.

Correct form is an absolute must if you want to avoid injury. An example would be the military press, which involves sitting and pushing a pair of dumbbells straight up into the air over your head. The old way had you clicking the dumbbells together when you reached the top. However, studies showed that people were getting shoulder impingement injuries from that last step, so now you’re just supposed to push them up into the air. Knowing tips like this will keep you from missing time with injury.

You don’t want to slam down half a pizza, but you do want to eat a protein bar or even just a quick banana before heading to the gym. That quick burst of energy will help take you through your routine more efficiently, and you won’t start to sag from exhaustion part of the way through.

You can’t cheat time. It takes a while to build up a base for activity, whether you’re trying to become a distance runner or boost your bench press. However, by staying consistent and sticking to a routine, you can make your progress go as quickly as possible.

These are just a few tips to consider when you head to the gym. It’s more important to do something in the realm of exercise five to six days a week than it is to go to the weight room one day, pump iron for two hours, and then stay on the couch because you’re sore for a week. Consistency is the key — and you will see the results before you know it.