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Tuning into Health Issues before Toning Up

When starting a fitness program, it's important to take stock of your general wellness. Addressing medical, health, and safety concerns ensures that you end up doing the appropriate program at the level of difficulty that is best for you. The following is established wisdom.

Checking in with your doctor

It's always a good idea to see your physician before starting any exercise program, and getting one before starting your ten-minute tone-ups makes sense for your safety and general health. Besides, getting an annual physical should be part of your preventive medicine plan. The doctor can determine if you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal problems, or if you have other health issues. He or she can sort through possible symptoms of heart problems, orthopedic aches, pregnancy, and so forth. All of this information helps you to take responsibility of your own body so that you can accommodate any medical limitations.

When consulting with your physician, take along a copy of your ten-minute tone-ups plan. She can use it to advise you of what is appropriate or not for you, should you have any limitations. Your doctor will probably offer encouragement to you on your fitness journey.

Knowing your medical limitations

For safety reasons, always be aware of your medical limitations. It's important to respect any current injuries or health problems. For example, let's say your goal is to sculpt your shoulders and arms for an upcoming pool party. Under normal circumstances that would be a reasonable goal. However, if you recently injured your shoulder swinging a bat at a weekend warrior baseball game, this could be cause for medical concern. Trying to sculpt your arms after such an injury may not be appropriate because shoulder movement would be involved. You'd be better off seeing a physician. Depending on the extent of the injury, you might be able to adapt your goals to include a cardio workout and lower-body and core tone-ups rather than arm and shoulder exercises. Respect any injury or medical problem you have. Nobody knows your body like you do.

Preventing back problems

Primary care physicians see people with back problems back to back. Lower-back problems are the second-leading cause for doctor's office visits after colds. Approximately 80 percent of adults end up with lower-back pain. That figure is astounding when you consider that many of those problems can be prevented.

Most back problems are caused by weak muscles surrounding the spine. With weak postural muscles, any chance for correct body mechanics goes kaput. And it certainly doesn't help if you slouch all the time. Following are some great suggestions for preventing back problems:

  • Strengthening your core: Strengthening your core muscles (lower back and abs) creates stability for your back and entire body.
  • Do resistance training: Doing weight training, such as that provided in ten-minute tone-ups, helps maintain bone density.
  • Maintain appropriate weight: It's common for overweight people to develop back problems. Try to maintain an appropriate weight.
  • Do stretching moves: Stretching can help prevent back problems. Muscles to stretch include hamstrings, hip flexors, back, abs, and chest. Bet you didn't realize so many muscles affected your back!

Posture pointers

Proper posture can make all the difference in the world to your total look and health. Unfortunately, it's way too easy to cave into an unflattering "poor posture slump." You know — the one that occurs when you sit in front of the TV, drive, or even stand. The shoulders droop, and your spine collapses into a rounded bend. Poor posture can also ruin the results of your ten-minute tone-ups by working the wrong muscles or, worse yet, causing injury.

Posture is how all your body parts work together, whether you are sitting, standing, exercising, or doing anything else. To achieve good posture, your feet should be planted on the floor parallel to each other. Put your chest out and bring your shoulders slightly back but relaxed. Hold your abs in tight and keep your butt tucked under. Here are some helpful posture pointers:

  • Elongate the spine: Pretend you are a marionette and a tight rope is pulling at you from above and below.
  • Keep your chin parallel to the floor: This can help make the look of a double chin disappear.
  • Distribute your weight evenly: Pointing your toes forward rather than outward helps maintain stability.
  • Hold your head up: Holding your head up as if to lengthen your neck can make your neck appear longer, and you look taller.
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