Fitness: Your Goal Should Be Safety

on June 18, 2017

If you were to do a simple Google search of, “Why do people workout?”, it would yield dozens of different answers.

  • Look Better
  • Feel Better
  • Stress Relief
  • Improved Performance
  • Happiness
  • Longevity

We all exercise for different reasons. We all find our motivation at different times and from different places. Though we all may have different goals, we all do have a couple of things in common. We all want to see success with our exercise plans and we all want to make sure we are exercising in a safe manner. The next question we need to ask is, how do I exercise efficiently and safely?

Goal Setting

Goal setting may be the single most important aspect of a successful exercise plan. Knowing specifically what you want from your exercise and knowing what that looks like are key to staying motivated. Most successful exercise plans use a strategy called SMART goals.

  • Specific-Your goal should be clear and easy to understand.
  • Measurable-You must be able to track your progress. This means adding a number to your goal.
  • Attainable- Make sure the number you assign to your goal is something that can be achieved. As much as we want you to shot for the stars, we want to make sure you can get there too.
  • Relevant-Make sure that your goals are specific to where you are in your life right now.
  • Time-Set specific time deadlines for your goals. This will keep you on track and help you stay motivated.


Nothing can derail the achievement of a goal like having an exercise setback because you didn’t plan a safe and complete exercise plan. The best exercise plans in the world have some very specific things in common.

  • Flexibility
  • Strength Components
  • Aerobic Components
  • Varied Heart Rates
  • Warm-ups and Cool downs

If your exercise plan is missing one of these aspects, it is most likely not a complete and well-rounded plan. Of course, you’re asking yourself, “why do I need this?” “Why do I need to know this? How does this affect me? It would be nice to do nothing, but it would be unrealistic.

Flexible joints require less energy to move through a greater range of motion. Flexibility lessens overall risk of injury and increases physical performance. Stretching works towards decreasing resistance in muscle tissue during any activity and helps increase blood flow of nutrients to your tissues.

Strength & Aerobic exercise plans include cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and interval programming. Not only are all these components necessary for good overall exercise performance, but by mixing up your exercise plan the chance of overuse injury and fatigue are limited.

Warm-up and Cool Down are some of the most important aspects of a good fitness plan that are often missed for a host of reasons, one of which is time. Warming up and cooling down help to prevent muscle soreness. Be sure you include them in your plan. A good warm-up and cool down can take up a total of 20 minute of your time, 10 minutes each. There is 24 hours in a day. Sparing 20 minutes to keep yourself from walking around sore in places you didn’t realize was possible is worth the time. Remember, if don’t make the time, you’ll regret it later.

To have an effective exercise plan, it is a very important to not just focus on one aspect, but your overall wellness. Sometimes, it can be tough to know what a good exercise plan looks like, but try incorporating some of these principals to your plan. Having this knowledge will not only keep you safe during your workouts, but it will help make your goals a lot more clear in the long run.

Ethan Opdahl
Exercise Physiologist

Ethan is our Fitness guru at SpecialtyHealth. He joined our merry band of men and women in 2012 with a wide range of experience in the last 10 years from stuntman to personal trainer and award winning track coach. He has a BS in Human and Performance in Fitness from North Dakota State University and is a ACE Certified Personal Trainer.

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