Flexing Physical and Mental Muscles

If you have never exercised earlier and are a beginner to aerobics, your fitness diary may read: Monday: Jogged for 10 minutes. Whew! Tuesday: Body aches all over, Didn't jog today. Wednesday: Still stiff.

No jogging. And so on. Let us help you to flex your mental muscles on this physical condition. These minor aches and stiffness may persist for a few days. They are not to be moaned over, but to be celebrated.

They are the heralders of good news trumpeted by your body. They are telling you that your muscle groups, dormant all these years and rusty' due to disuse, are moving, are expanding contracting, 'are coming alive. If you listen to your body, you will know that it is not telling you to stop exercising. Rather, it is urging you on to continue so that those formerly unused muscles can adapt, become more pliable. So that you stimulate the release of the synovial fluid - the body's lubricant which when drawn out, flows into your joints making them more flexible, more supple.

Your body is excited and asking you to go on so that it can regain the natural grace you were born with, It wants to become more flexible, more supple, so that your movements become brisk, more graceful. It wants you to rid it off any excess fat that may be depriving it of its natural birthright. Your body's message comes loud and clear - exercise even if you are sore. So, what should you do? Swallow a painkiller? Rub balm on the sore points? No, if you do, your aches will be numbed or temporarily disappear. And in that span if you exercise too ,vigorously, you could injure your muscles since you cannot judge how sore they are. Use those aches to measure how gingerly or slowly you should proceed.

In fact, whether you have muscle soreness or not, start slowly, For example, if you choose walking as your aerobic activity, don't step out over-briskly. For the first few minutes, walk at your normal pace. This stimulates blood to flow slowly into the muscles and warm them up until they are ready for a little more intensity. Then, increase your speed, if you are sore, proceed slowly. Your pulse rate may not reach its aerobic target zone on that day.

It doesn't matter. Regard these first few days purely as conditioners. If you experience a dull ache in the lower back, it could be due to poor posture. Improve your posture by following the tips in the next chapter ­How to flatten your stomach.

The ache will disappear after a few days. If any of your joints; are sore - your knees, your ankles, your hip joints, ­treat them tenderly. Walk slowly, never jog on a sore joint. These aches will disappear too as more synovial fluid is released and your muscles get conditioned. But, don't let a little ache or stiffness stop you. You can rub balm at night before going to bed.

You may think that once you've finished your walk or jog you can fling yourself on the nearest bench and relax. Don't. Your muscles need cooling down as much as they need to warm-up. While you were walking briskly, your muscles were demanding more oxygen and receiving it. They were pumping blood vigorously, But they do not halt with your sudden halt.

They continue to work at the same high level, If you stop abruptly the blood rushes on and could pool in your extremities. This could make you feel light-headed or faint. To avoid this discomfort, lessen your pace, stroll around for a few minutes.

This gives your muscles time to adjust to the slower pace and cool down. Now, you can sink into that seat. People who experience light-headedness attribute it to ''weakness due to over-exertion." And to avoid this "weakness", they walk slower, or not at all the next day. It's not weakness they are experiencing, but a faintness brought about by over-warmed muscles still working at a swift pace.

A cool-down as we have suggested leaves you fresh, not fatigued after your workout. Though we have taken walking as an examples, the slow-start and slow­ finish principle should be followed for all aerobic workouts.

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