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How to Listen to Your Body During a Workout

Exercise is one of the most potent ingredients when it comes to having energy and living a healthy life. However, it’s difficult to when enough is enough, and you begin doing more harm than good.

Your body is smart and, if you listen to it, it’ll tell you important things like when you’re tired, hungry, stressed or sick, and hopefully, you’ll trust your body and follow its signals most of the time. Your body can also give you signs that you’re sore, injured, or exhausted—all of which could be clues that you need to cut back on your current workout routine. It may seem counterintuitive to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy, but listening to how you feel really makes a difference in your workouts.

Not only will your body actively give you signals while you are exercising, but it will also let you know when you should rest for a little longer before continuing your regular workout routine. Ignoring these signals is unwise and can cause further soreness and injuries. As a general rule, you should let your body rest for at least 24 hours between exercise sessions and take a minimum of one day off every week, to let your entire body recuperate.

Here are some ways to listen to your body during workouts:

1. Take five to 10 minutes to warm up and cool down properly

This helps your muscles get ready for exercise and will significantly reduce your chance of injury.

2. If it hurts, stop!

This is essential exercise advice for everyone. If you feel a sharp pain or discomfort during any type of workout, don’t push through the pain. Doing so can result in serious injury that will sideline you for a long time.

3. Be Realistic

Going from zero to hero in any kind of training program is a recipe for disaster and will cause injury. The body can adapt well, but it takes time. Make sure you increase your training load and difficulty levels incrementally and that you take the tried and tested ‘slow and steady’ route. In fitness, there really are no shortcuts.

4. Take into account weather conditions

Exercising vigorously in hot, humid conditions can lead to severe overheating and dehydration. Watch for signs of overheating, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, faintness, cramps, or palpitations.

In cold weather, dress properly for your workouts to avoid hypothermia.

5. Be kind to yourself

This is probably the hardest part to follow because we tend to sacrifice ourselves way too easily. Our bodies are under our control, which makes it easy to ignore our needs. Making sure we eat well, drink plenty of water and get enough rest and sleep are the hardest things to maintain, but they are important for physical and mental recuperation and long-term balance.

You might say, “My body never wants to exercise! I’m tired! Sore! Old! If I listen to my body, I’ll never work out!” You may feel that way now, especially if you’re new to exercise or just getting back into it. Most likely, we feel this way because we’ve ignored our bodies for so long that we’ve lost the desire to exercise. But, if you truly listen to your body, it does want to move and be strong and fit.

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