FEELING GREAT: Mix things up on your exercise plan

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Did you know, the secret to getting fit is to steadily and progressively increase your exercise plan?

And the secret to staying fit is to vary that exercise plan as much as possible.

Yet the common mistake that people tend to make (which can lead very easily to injury), is to constantly pound the same path night after night when walking or running.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say you’ve started 2015 with a goal to be “fitter” and to achieve that goal you’re going to be doing a little more jogging and walking. But if you walk or jog on the same hard surfaces night after night, steadily increasing your distance each time you step outside, then there’s a good chance you will suffer from common injuries such as Achilles tendon problems or shin splints, even though you think you’re doing your health some good by doing it.

And by the way, you will be helping your heart and lungs, just not your joints or muscles.

Likewise, if you spend hour after hour on the saddle of your bicycle, and you haven’t prepared by doing the right lower back strengthening exercises, then you should expect to suffer back pain.

Why? Because if your lower back isn’t strong enough to support you in the seat as you pedal and climb a few hills from time to time (even leaning forwards as you to try make it easier for yourself to get up a steep bank or fight a strong gust of wind), then it will be stressed too much and eventually you’ll pay the price with pain and/or stiffness.

Even swimmers need to vary their routines, otherwise shoulder aches and pains are inevitable.

It’s not possible to get into a swimming pool for an hour every day and use the same arm motion to propel you through the water without getting some kind of shoulder problem eventually.

The swimming is fine, just change the stroke you do from one day to the next.

Anyhow, my big tip for this week is to always vary the type of exercise you do – no matter how enjoyable or good you think it is for you. As you’ve just noticed from the mention of how to avoid swimming injuries, it’s possible to change an activity within an activity, so to speak, and it will help you keep active and healthy.

Look for an activity or exercise plan that includes a mixture of any of these: yoga, pilates, swimming, walking, cycling, and you wont go far wrong in your attempt to keep joints supple and you more mobile and independent.