Patricia Spellen is aware that fitness can be a double-edged sword. While a well-thought-out exercise regiment can be incredibly beneficial, people must be aware that exercising incorrectly can lead to injuries, some of which can be extremely serious. A person can’t go into a gymnasium without first educating himself or herself to the basics of fitness safety; doing so only invites danger.
Patricia Spellen doesn’t consider herself an expert, but she has picked up some wisdom over the years that has helped her and might be useful to those who are interested in creating their own routines. The first is hydration. This might seem very basic: of course you should bring a bottle of water with you when you go to work out, and you shouldn’t run long distances or hike without the proper way of hydrating yourself. But many people make this mistake, often to grave consequences. So be aware of your fluid intake, and don’t become dehydrated.
Patricia Spellen also advises people to stretch before engaging in any involved activity. In addition to making yourself more limber and flexible in the long run and improving your ability to remain active and mobile as you become older, stretching also prevents injury. Many people walk out their houses and set out for a run immediately. This is a no-no: they should spend five or so minutes stretching their legs and loosening their muscles up. They won’t regret it.
Patricia Spellen also recommends switching up workout routines. Don’t bench press every single day of the week: muscles need time to rest between sets. Otherwise how will they have the time to grow and strengthen? When engaging in heavy lifting or intensive exercising, a good rule of thumb is to focus on different body parts (for example, upper and lower body) on different days. Work your legs on Monday, work out your arms and torso on Wednesday. It’s that simple—but such a simple thing can be the difference between staying healthy or having an injury.
Patricia Spellen isn’t an expert—but she does try to bring some common sense with her when she goes to the gym. And you should too! Check out some books on general fitness and nutrition or click around the web, which is full of excellent resources. Ask your doctor if you have any health issues that you should take into account. And—as always—listen to what your body is telling you! Nine times out of ten, your body will let you know when you are doing something wrong. A good principle to follow is that if it hurts—actually hurts, not just produces discomfort—you shouldn’t do it.