There are 640 muscles in the human body, and each of them is as amazing as the last. Now imagine attempting to lead a normal, active lifestyle without just one of those muscles and you’ll get a sense of why it’s so important to maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise to build muscle and keep them in shape. You see, while your muscles look after you, it is equally important to take care of them.
Working out can be an incredible way to increase your body’s strength, flexibility, and general well being, but it is vital that you undertake your workout wisely.
Developing a personal workout
The most important thing to remember when you decide to workout is that everybody, and every body, is different – don’t assume that you’ll become immediately capable of doing what fellow gym-goers are doing, for example. Only you know your body and its limitations, so start slowly and attempt to push yourself a little further each time you visit the gym, head out for a morning run, or enter the weightlifting room. This will allow you to assess your own capabilities before you get in too deep, and will allow you to consistently and safely build up your body. For example, never head to your workout with the intention of ‘going for it’, as this can cause more harm than good. Muscles are likely to become overworked, and even damaged, if they’re pushed too far too soon, and you put yourself at serious risk of injury every time you ignore your own limitations.
Above model Srjdan Basta at FOX Models wearing Armani Jeans, photo Igor C for Male Model Scene
Taking care of your body before, during, and after a workout
When approaching a workout, it is vital to do a full warm up first. A warm up is designed to get the blood pumping, increase your heart rate, hydrate your muscles and joints, and prepare your body for the session ahead, and should consist of a series of stretches and gentle exercises that work each muscle group in turn. A good warm up should never be skipped over, nor is it enough to simply jog on the spot until you feel suitably sweaty – a warm up can feel a little like a workout in itself, but it is incredibly important.
During your workout, ensure you keep hydrated, as this will help to keep your body working to its maximum potential. Water can also ensure your muscles are kept hydrated and flexible, and will replenish the fluids and salts lost in sweat, so be sure to top up that water bottle whenever you pass a fountain. At this point, it is also essential to stress the importance of not overworking yourself. If you feel tired, slow it down, stock up on fluids, and rethink the rest of your workout – is it really worth risking injury?
Above and the first photo model and street workout champion Ivan Markioli at FOX Models wearing Trussardi Jeans, photo Igor C for Male Model Scene.
Protect your muscles during your workout by investing in the correct clothing and equipment; shoes and clothes should be tailored to your body and designed for the particular activity you’re undertaking (e.g. running shoes, sports trainers, or football boots, with jogging bottoms, shorts, and a t-shirt or vest), and you may want to consider specialist clothing, such as the compression stockings sold by the Tommie Copper brand . These are designed to protect your muscles as you exercise and can increase your body’s capabilities during its workout.
When your workout is complete, you probably feel a mixture of exhaustion and elation. However, at this point, it is absolutely vital not to merely hit the showers and head home. Cooling down and completing your routine properly is absolutely vital, and may comprise a series of stretches and gentle exercises very similar to the ones you did during the warm up. The role of the cool down will ensure your muscles return to ‘normal’ with ease, help your heart rate return to its resting pace, and prevent your blood pressure from dropping too rapidly.
Whether you’re heading to the gym for the first time, have become something of a seasoned jogger, or enjoy partaking in a team sport, the role of the warm up and cool down are as important as the main event itself, helping to protect your muscles long after you’ve hung up your sports equipment. Maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and taking part in regular exercise are all great ways to keep fit, but they must be done in conjunction if you’re to feel the full benefit.