The FitOldDog Training Wheel is based upon the premise that you work your way around it in a clockwise manner, learn as you go, and do it again. You’ll notice that the color of each spoke changes, from green (beginner – you are a beginner every time you start the cycle, ready to learn from your mistakes), through increasingly pink until you reach red (danger) at the training spoke. By now you have (a) visited the issue of mind and body-awareness, realizing that you need to watch how you respond to exercise. You know what motivates you to do this, in addition to having some understanding of how to address your nutrition (including hydration), which may need modification based on training load or underlying disease processes, such as diabetes. You have also explored the skills that you will need to undertake your chosen activity safely and effectively. Now to training or exercise.
Rather than telling you what to do, when it comes to exercise, this blog is designed to guide you through the process of establishing a safe approach that is specifically applicable to you, personally. It doesn’t matter what you are exercising for, but it is critical that you enjoy your chosen activity (or you will stop), that you can fit it into your lifestyle (or you will stop), and that you avoid injuries (or you will stop, at least for a while). Here are FitOldDog’s ten essential steps to the training phase of safe exercise for better health:
- Before you start exercising, review the issue of mind and body awareness, including your injury profile, as guarding may dramatically increase your risk of physical breakdown.
- Then decide what you want to do and why you want to do it. What is your motivation? This can be important, as it will define the nature of your approach to the task.
- Determine your short and long-term goals, and then address the short-term. The goals should be appropriate for your level of experience. For instance, if you are a complete beginner, never having really exercised, and your doctor has informed you that you need to exercise to reduce your risk of diabetes or heart disease, then BE VERY CAREFUL. You really don’t know what you are doing yet, so you should choose a goal, estimate how long it will take to train for it, then halve the goal and double the time needed to prepare. If you are more experienced, watch out for over-confidence as it can sneak up on you in the form of injury.
- When preparing your training plan, consult local experts or peers, or go online to find a suitable training program (e.g. Runner’s World and LiveStrong have excellent plans), find a plan that you like, and discuss it with knowledgeable people. There is an art to training, and you are on the journey of your life, so take the first few steps wisely. You have the rest of your life ahead of you in which to enjoy your chosen activities.
- Once you have a plan, revisit your necessary skill set. The last thing you want is to develop a running injury or wreck on your bike.
- Find someone to workout with you, preferably a person with more experience and lots of patience.
- Check with your health professionals that your goal is reasonable given your state of health and general level of fitness, and modify your plan based on the input you receive.
- Start training, but respect the 10% rule, and remember that the less experience you have, the more conservative you should be in your workout load.
- Keep a record of your progress, including how you feel, and any soreness or tightness issues, especially if you are a beginner. Some people prefer to write down everything, but do what works for you, and be prepared to learn and change.
- Consider finding a coach or trainer, especially if you plan to compete. The main function of a coach is to protect you from yourself so as to avoid injuries, in addition to teaching you the necessary techniques and skills needed to perform optimally. Your coach may be a doctor (blood parameter improvement), physical therapist (improved mobility or strength), sports coach (better times in races and reduced strains and tears), or one of many other fitness and exercise experts. Before you start, look ahead to the next spoke of the FitOldDog Training Wheel and become prepared to deal with the essential recovery phase of training.
If you need more specific advice, there are many resources available, tailored for almost every sport or exercise program. If you have a health challenge, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you will find some useful links on this site, or just surf the Web and you’ll find more.
Enjoy the world of healthy exercise. It’s great!
|WorkoutPLAN Coach: Chris Hauth|
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