Five ways to focus on exercise fundamentals

 Now and then we need to stop and think about our exercise routine. Whether we regularly work out or are on a break from the gym, it' important to perform a quick test and see where we stand. Take the time to do a check-up and ensure you start with a firm foundation of fitness before you tackle a new level in your regimen. Here are five fundamentals to help you take on your next challenge.
  1. Focus on your breathing: How you breathe is critical to any exercise plan, from weight lifting to practicing yoga. Certain breathing styles will either make your workout great or hinder you from making progress. Your breath is also a good indicator of how you're performing. If it' really labored, then you may be a little out of shape and need to scale back a tiny bit. Greatist compiled a helpful list of how to breathe for every type of exercise.
  2. Watch your form: If you're lifting for the first time in a while or trying out a new move, use a mirror. This is so you can see your form and make adjustments (especially as you start to feel tired). Classes are helpful because the instructor will let you know if you're doing something that could result in injury. If you're starting a new weight lifting program, it' worth the investment to meet with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will not only correct your form, but he or she will also help you lay out a routine based on your goals. Depending on what you want to achieve, you may learn new moves that will add to your knowledge base and strengthen your workouts.
  3. Listen to your body: Push yourself but know your limits. Your body will tell you when you're going too far. It can be tough to distinguish the difference between when our mind is telling us to stop and when our bodies can take no more. A good rule of thumb is to ease into a new program. For example, it' probably a bad idea to go to the gym five days in a row and hit the machines hard if you haven't been to the gym for three weeks. Instead, work up to it and make sure your body is getting plenty of rest.
  4. Don't forget to stretch and recover: Stretching and recovery should be a priority in any plan. We believe in the importance of recovery, which is why we have products such as foam rollers, stretching straps and yoga blocks available on our website, Flexibility should also be a focus, especially for those of us who sit at desks all day. We are more likely to avoid injury when we are more flexible. Knowing different kinds of stretching will help your performance as well.
  5. Team up with a buddy: Isn't it motivating to work out with someone? If you meet up for a run or lift together, exercising with a friend will help you stay focused and keep you on track. Having a buddy will also help with setting goals, sticking to a schedule and even competing (if you're into a little friendly competition). Or, join a group. Running groups and sports such as CrossFit are popular because they help establish a sense of community that motivates members to keep up with their fitness.
  Sometimes we get off our plan, or sometimes we're excited to add something new to our regime and want to go all out. Yet, it' important to make sure we have the fundamentals down before we take the next step. With these five tips, you'll be ready to set your eyes on your next target in no time.