With an end of the COVID-19 pandemic now in sight, it is a great time to start thinking about your health and fitness again.
When the pandemic first hit, many gyms closed causing people to alter their fitness routine or even completely abandon them all together. With the vaccine rolling out, gyms are beginning to reopen allowing people to be able to focus on their fitness and health again.
“Fitness is essential. We have been working together as a nation to wear face coverings, socially distance and wash our hands more frequently to keep everyone healthy. With the availability of the vaccine, more people have been re-exploring how to improve their health through fitness as well,” Marissa Valdez said, who is an Adjunct Kinesiology professor at Palomar College and an assistant softball and strength and conditioning coach.
“The biggest thing to keep in mind when going back the gym is that everyone has a different comfort level and it’s important to stay mindful of that. Also, it is important to be savvy on the safety protocols in place at the gym location you are using,” Valdez said.
The key thing about fitness is that everyone has something different that works for them, and it is important to find what works for you.
Weight training is the use of weights or resistance to build muscle. Some of the benefits of weight training include:
– Fat burning
– Helps prevent injuries
– Improved health of the body including reduced blood pressure and lowering cholesterol, as well as improve sleep and help reduce bodily pain
– Improves mood through endorphin release
When it comes to weight training, Valdez said, “When weight training, it’s imperative to use periodization to progress from exercises that are easy to exercises that are more challenging.” She stresses the importance of monitoring heart rate.
Heart rate is something that can be tracked with a smartwatch or even with just your hand. While an elevated heart rate is a common thing while working out, if it gets too high it can create more lactic acid which is what leads to soreness.
For someone just starting or getting back into exercise, muscle soreness can lead to someone breaking their routine. While the desire may be there to push yourself to your limit, overdoing it may hurt your motivation and the soreness gets worse.
One other important aspect of getting back to an exercise routine is the goals you want to achieve.
“I think both short and long term goals can be a motivating factor to beginning a workout routine. Many people make the mistake of focusing on weight loss when they should be concerned about muscle gain and fat loss,” Valdez said. While weight loss is usually a big goal for many people to start exercising, there are other things to prioritize that have better results for your health.
Valdez lists things to focus on that will help improve your fitness and habits:
– Think about the person you want to become
– Think about the activities and habits you have preformed in the last two weeks.
– Think about your fitness goals.
– Who do you want to be?
– Do your habits reflect that?
– Does your diet reflect that?
Proper exercise and focusing on what you want to achieve can help you reach those goals you set for yourself and improve the health of your body.