Stuff happens, and when it does, it can mess up your regular workout routine. Whether a previous day's workout has left you too sore to sit or a night on the town has you dreading gym time, there are all sorts of reasons to feel like your workout for the day will be extra difficult. But with a few modifications, you can make the most of your sweat session and just like that, feel proud that you've met your goals for the day. Whether you're sore, sick, hungover, injured (or even pregnant), read on for the best exercises to do when you're not feeling 100 percent.
Zumba may be a trend that's here to stay, but its growing popularity right now has led to an increase in Zumba-related injuries, according to a New York Times article.
Its broad appeal (and celeb-endorsed status) means that many new Zumba class attendees are inexperienced exercisers. While a typical class involves a mix of aerobics and easy-to-follow dance steps, the beat can get fast, and if you're not used to the pace, you may find yourself in an incorrect position. This has led to an increase in lower-body injuries in Zumba enthusiasts, like ankle sprains, hamstring and calf injuries, and muscle spasms, according to one physical therapist.
Are you a fan of Zumba? Read on for expert tips for staying injury-free for your next Zumba class.
- Wear the right shoes. Don't wear your running shoes to Zumba; their thick soles are the opposite of what you need to do fancy side-to-side footwork. Bring another type of thin-soled shoe instead, or invest in a Zumba- or dancing-specific pair. We love these Asics Gel-Naomi 2 shoes, which are designed for dance moves and offer extra cushioning for those jumping moves.
- Find the right class size. One studio owner recommends not going to a class larger than 25. That way, the instructor can always see you, and you'll have a more personal connection with him or her (which especially helps if you are having trouble with moves or need to modify your workout because of a health condition).
- Know your limits. If a sequence gets too complicated, don't push yourself to go full force. Take a few minutes to slow down and get back on track; there'll be plenty of sweat-inducing beats for you to dance to.
- Don't forget to warm up! Don't just go from locker room to rocking moves. Spend a few minutes before class warming up with light cardio and stretching — the physical therapist recommends routine hamstring, calf, and ab stretches after you warm up. Try these hamstring stretches and calf stretches before your next class!
Also important — make sure you've got the go ahead to dance the night away. While it's marketed toward exercise newbies, it's still a hard, sweat-drenching kind of workout, so check with your doctor before you start a class, and make sure your instructor knows if you have any specific injuries or other health conditions.
Source: Flickr User Lifeline Australia
Cramps throughout the body can, at their least painful, distract you from your workout and at their worst can keep you from finishing a workout. While they are normally associated with vigorous exercise, they are common in every type of exercise because you may be twisting your body or otherwise overexerting yourself. I recently learned that the hard way, after spending a lot more time than I should have in Child's Pose during yoga class when my toes wouldn't stop cramping! Whether they happen in your feet or on your side, here are some tips on how to prevent and deal with those annoying cramps.
Cause: Many experts believe that side cramps are caused by the pulling of the ligament that attaches your liver to your diaphragm. This can happen when you breath too vigorously while you run. Runners who exhale when their right foot hits the ground, for example, are more likely to experience muscle cramps than those who don't. Experts also believe that shallow breathing can lead to a higher frequency of side cramps.
Prevention: Warming up is key to preventing these painful cramps, so start with walking or slow jogging before you start any intensive cardio. Also, try not to run while full since that may also pull the ligament that is attached to your diaphragm. If you get a stitch on your side, a side stretch using an exercise ball may give you enough support and stretch to the area to make you feel better.
Toe or foot cramps
Cause: Foot cramps may be caused from too-constricting shoes, depletion of nutrients like electrolytes or water in your body, or just the position that you're putting your toes into while you exercise.
Prevention. Massaging the bottoms of your feet every few days by rolling them on top of a tennis ball will help keep your muscles and ligaments stretched. Also, remember to drink plenty of fluids regularly. If you get a cramp while exercising, stopping and massaging your feet or moving into a position that stretches them (like Downward Dog) can help alleviate pain.