Fitness Hacks – Overview
Many of us are taken by surprise at how time seems to have flown by this year. The end of 2023 approaches in a few months from now! We are reminded of our New Year resolution fitness goals. If we have not managed to achieve the fitness goals we had so enthusiastically set for ourselves at the start of the year, all is not lost. Let’s make these remaining months count by implementing a few tried and tested exercise hacks to set our fitness goals on track, and achieve our New Year resolution fitness goals.
For starters, it’s time to plan your workouts smarter. The trick lies in adopting superior approaches to exercise. These shortcuts or skills will help increase your exercise productivity and efficiency. Following this short yet effective set of exercise hacks will help you gain the most benefits from your exercise efforts, saving time and mental energy.
Read on for the five best fitness hacks that will not only help you achieve your fitness goals, but also help you get there minus injury…
5 Hacks – Explanation
- Include mobility exercises
While being strong and muscular is important, you need to spend enough time each week on mobility training. This is one of the key fitness hacks that help tremendously. Mobilising your joints will help avoid compensations, weakness or stiffness. This would help you reap the full benefits of your workouts. Doing mobility exercises will increase your foundational and active range of motion and make you flexible. Improved mobility means that your range of motion is smooth, making you more resilient against injury, and better able to use the most muscle mass for each exercise. This will increase your weight-lifting capacity and improve strength. Some recommended mobility exercises include kettlebell arm bar, lateral lunge, half-kneeling arm rotation, passive leg lowering and three-way ankle mobilisation.
- Stay hydrated
This is one of the often-neglected fitness hacks. When you are physically active, fluid replacement should be a priority. It is important to stay hydrated before, during and after all physical activity. Drinking sufficient fluids will help you maintain concentration and performance, increase your endurance, and prevent excessive elevations in heart rate and body temperature. Proper hydration helps replenish your muscles, enhances energy, improves performance and helps recovery. Importantly, it helps keep your joints lubricated, as the cartilage in joints contains a whopping 80% of water approximately. Adequate hydration reduces the friction in joints by helping enhance the cushioning between bones. This results in smoother-moving joints, which means fewer aches and pains.
- Prevent injury
The goals of fitness are generally strength building or weight loss. However, it’s equally important to work on including exercises that improve stability, strength and mobility to prevent injury. Do ensure to include a proper warm up and cool down to your actual workout. This helps prepare the mind and body for activity and also helps in recovery post-workout. Dynamic stretching helps increase body temperature, range of motion, improve muscle elasticity and enhance muscle performance. After your workout, take time to properly stretch your muscles. Static stretches can help the muscles recover. Foam rolling, active recovery days, sleep and proper nutrition also help in recovery.
- Physical & mental rest
It is important to fit rest days into your fitness routine. Though this may seem damaging to your fitness goals, rest is actually a necessity. Working out breaks down our muscle fibres. Giving your body time to rest allows your joints to heal and your muscles to rebuild. This actually makes you stronger. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. This can be counterproductive as it can injure your body and make it difficult for you to stick to your routine. Those new to a fitness routine should avoid the temptation to fit in five to six workouts a week. Instead, set a goal of two to three workouts. This would give both your mind and body the chance to get used to the physical aspect as well as the maintaining of the routine. Start small and build a foundation that you can manage. Once you are successful with sticking to these workouts, you can add to it according to your preference. Along with allowing our body proper rest and rejuvenation, it is also important to prioritise mental health. It is not at all advisable to push yourself too hard or set unrealistic expectations. This can negatively impact both physical and mental health. Instead, make resting a priority. Set small, achievable goals. Don’t forget to give yourself positive affirmations each day.
- Try cold therapy
The effectiveness of workouts is matched by our body’s recovery. Recovery and healing from rigorous workouts or injuries is important as it prevents further injury and helps achieve faster and better results. Cold therapy or cryotherapy is becoming a popular way to recover after a workout. In this therapy, your body is exposed to very cold temperatures for a short time. This brings down the temperature of the skin and muscle. In the process, it can help reduce inflammation by helping improve blood flow to strained muscles and tissues. As the blood flow increases, the cells deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the joints and muscles. In this way, soreness, swelling and pain are reduced and healing is promoted. Cold therapy helps the body move better and recover faster. It is no wonder that this therapy is used by many athletes to improve their athletic performance.
These five important fitness hacks have the power to set you on course for long-term success in your fitness journey. These exercise hacks will not only help prevent injury but will help you become stronger and build more muscle. It’s never too late to make good on your New Year resolution fitness goals; start your own journey today!