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Fitness and exercise are an important part of leading a healthy life. People who exercise regularly have healthier hearts, and are less prone to problems related to obesity as well as depression and other mental illnesses. Read on to find out how you can set up your own fitness program and start to feel great!

To effectively build muscle, avoid painkillers. That may run counter to your instinct, but there’s some research to suggest that painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can, if taken after working out, render all your pain pointless by preventing muscle growth. Plus, scientists say the painkillers aren’t any more effective than placebos at killing the post-workout pain, anyway.

Finding time in your life for exercise can prove to be challenging. A great way to accomplish this is to find something you love and turn that into your exercise regime. Playing sports, riding bikes, or even a park date with your children can be great ways to get in that daily exercise. You will always find the time to do things that you love!

A good way to help you lose weight is to try your hand at rock climbing. Rock climbing is one of the hardest physical activities you can engage in. If you have the stomach for it, you’ll be burning more calories than you can count, and you’ll be fit in no time.

Training for a marathon can be no easy feat. Try setting small goals to achieve each week that eventually lead up to being able to run or walk a 5k marathon. For some, walking that distance takes little effort, but for others it can feel like climbing Mount Everest. Take small walks or runs each day and push yourself to make it further and further each week.

A great way to help you get fit is to invest in a decent home gym. Sometimes gym memberships can be too expensive or they can even be inconvenient. By having a home gym, you can workout whenever you want, from the comfort of your own home.

For maximum swim training, focus on increasing your ankle flexibility. Flexible ankles make for more fin-like movements underwater and therefore make you swim much faster. To help your flexibility, sit barefoot on the floor with your legs outstretched and your heels on the floor. Point your toes straight out then back again towards your shins. Do this for at least 1 minute a day.

If you are a student, join a sports team of your choice. Sports teams are great to instill discipline and will help you to get in shape quickly and efficiently. The constant exercises and running that you will do during practice will help you to get to your weight goal desired.

Your body is not the only thing that should be trained during your workouts, you need to train your brain as well. After all, it is in charge of your central nervous system which is in charge of telling muscles when to contract. To do this, try standing on one leg, squatting down and touching the floor with your other hand. Do about 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions for each leg.

Whenever you are sick, try not to work out. Many people think that muscles and endurance will improve the rate of healing when you are sick. This is not true. Your body naturally heals itself and it is something that you cannot build up over time.

While working out, always decrease the weight by approximately ten percent, when you adjust your grip. For example, if you just finished a set of bench presses doing 200 pounds with a medium grip, you should drop to 180 pounds when switching to a narrow or wide grip. When you switch grips, you are stressing the joints in a different way than you have become accustomed to, which can cause you to get injured.

Step away from the pain medication. Taking pain pills after your workout has shown to be ineffective anyway, but worse still, they can make it so your muscles have a harder time retaining the strength you just gained. Staying away from pain medications is a good idea for anyone looking to retain muscle mass.

Increase the speed of your strides, not the distance. When you shorten your stride but up the speed, you will have better form and increase your endurance. You can always move back to longer strides later, but to reap the benefits of a better run, speed up and take smaller steps.

Start with a half hour workout time, and try to shave off some time. Doing the same amount of work in three minutes less can help you kick your workout into high gear. If you’ve gotten used to a time limit, try shortening it to reap the benefits of a faster-paced session.

Even after you get comfortable and experienced with your fitness routine, you should limit intense weight training workouts to no more than an hour at a time. When your muscles are subjected to extreme stress, your body begins producing cortisol. This is a hormone that interferes with your body’s testosterone balance and reduces or eliminates the benefits of continued weight training.

Sprinters should focus on their hamstrings. By doing so, you are developing more speed and improving your push off. You can do this by pulling weight toward your body with flexed ankles. Extend your ankles so your toes are not pointing toward your shins when you lower the weight. This will make your hamstrings work harder.

Stay limber by stretching often, and if you are getting older, hold your stretches for longer periods of time. Your muscles will remain warm, strong and loose, and you will be able to workout more vigorously. Stretching can also help reduce or prevent soreness of the muscles and increases flexibility.

As you can see, staying fit isn’t as intimidating as it seems. Fitness is very important, and now you can join the millions of people who exercise and reap the health and mental benefits. Follow these simple fitness tips and you’ll be well on your way to looking, feeling, and being great!