“Exercise smarter” has become a mantra for athletes and gym-seekers alike. And for good reason. You might be someone who every morning puts on a pair of tennis shoes and grinds out seven miles of running. And that’s fine—better than fine. But, whether that is or isn’t your exercise style, there are benefits to working the entire body, working all muscle groups at interval to see results in unexpected areas. In example, the running athlete who performs core exercises frequently and strengthens his or her back and upper torso will see evidence of the extra work as gains during his or her runs. The runner who works his or her entire body is also more likely to be resistant to certain injury.
Being flexible doesn’t mean you must become a full-time yogi, but you do need to oil the gears of your bodies machine every now and then. But when you stretch is equally as important. And know that in today’s exercise science there’s conflicting information, but evidence shows that stretching before some exercises—running included (especially fast running)—can inhibit performance, so do your research about your own specialized activity (stretching after a workout or in the off-times of day when your usually inactive is beneficial).
Strength training is important for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you must go out and get a gym membership and start to rep out those Olympic clean and jerks. You can do certain activities at home. Get yourself a set of dumbbells or kettlebells. Do air squats and core exercises. Practice push-ups and pull-ups. Practice yoga—certain movements in yoga require great strength and tremendous muscle discipline to perform.
Get a Foam Roller
Foam Rolling is popular with athletes for good reason: it eliminates some of the effects of sore muscles after a difficult workout. And if you don’t currently own a foam roller you can make your own with something like a large Gatorade bottle, something that can hold its shape firmly with your body weight pressed down upon it. However, to buy a quality foam roller is a good investment and they are worth it when you need them most.