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Recently we reported on ways to improve your diet and many of our readers have asked us to write some reviews about exercising. This week, our health correspondent Dr. Sebastian Müller (Ph.D.) is reporting on healthy ways to exercise, drawing from his own experience as a high performance rower over several years.
Know your limit
First of all, I would like to advise you to listen to your own body. Whether you have avoided sport your entire life or are a professional athlete, you have to know your exercise level. I have often observed people completely over-or underestimate their capabilities. Obviously, if you underestimate yourself, you may not get very far. If you overestimate yourself, you risk injury and fatigue. I will explain these points in detail in this article.
For beginners – choose a sport that suits you
(1) Team sports. These entail sports like football, basketball, hockey and so forth.
(2) Companion sports. These are sports that you do with a small number of people. Such as tennis, running with your friend or badminton.
(3) Individual sports. For example working out on your own, running on your own etc.
What you prefer can be dependent on your personality type. Your body will tell you what sports are good for you. If you have naturally big legs and are tall, you might find football or rowing easy. If you do not like to spend too much time with large amounts of people, you may prefer companion or individual sports. If you have strong shoulders, tennis might be easier for you. There are so many sports on offer these days and everyone can find his or her sport to enjoy.
I think it is best to choose a sport that is compatible with your personality type (Do you like to compete? Do you like to be on your own or in a team?) in conjunction with the capabilities of your body.
It is important to have a program and monitor your progress. This is somewhat easier if you are participating in team sports as others will help motivate you and improve together with you. If you exercise on your own, it is more important to keep an eye on your performance, progress and on your health. Most gyms offer their clients individual exercise programs these days, so do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.
Frequency of exercise
This is very much dependent on your fitness level. It is recommended to have three cardiovascular exercise sessions a week at a length of 30 minutes for a healthy adult person. Of course, many people like to exercise more. It is also increasingly popular to go to the gym. if you like to exercise a lot, that is fine. However, you should give your body one day rest a week when you do not exercise at all. Your muscles will have to recover.
On average, it is recommended to have three week cycles of more intense workouts and then a week of lighter workouts to recover. This is particularly important if you exercise a lot or train for certain events. Try to adjust your body to it. If you are a beginner or light exerciser, this may not be as important for you.
Warm up and cool down
It is imperative to warm up before any sport. Take your time for that as it may prevent injuries and also increase your performance and health benefits from the exercise you are about to pursue. Equally, it is important to cool down after your sport and give your body time to adjust. Slowly decrease your heart rate and prepare your body that the exercise is finished.
We will soon report on dieting for exercise in another article. The diet is an integral part of your exercise program. Give your body the necessary energy to perform well. Carbohydrates are necessary before cardiovascular exercise. Try to eat about two hours before exercise Equally, if you like weight training, make sure you eat the right amount of protein about half an hour after your exercise, to give your body the necessary ingredients in order to increase muscle size and heal your muscles.
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About the Author: Sebastian Müller was born and raised in Leipzig/Germany and moved to England as an adolescent. He is a trained research chemist and geneticist and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Curie in Paris/ France working in cancer research. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and is still actively involved at the university today. He is fluent in English, German and French and has many fortés and interests including science, philosophy, linguistics, history, competitive sports such as rowing, fitness and nutrition. He is one of the co-founders of City Connect. He is a freelance writer also drawing from his experience as an author in peer-reviewed scientific journals. "I love writing and putting my thoughts down on paper. The written word to me is one of the most powerful ways of conveying thoughts and initiating discussions."