Any Workout is a Good Workout?
I wasn't able to get my full workout in this morning due to some time constraints I had today. It was a decent workout, but not completely what I had planned.
As I went to get my post-workout meal, I said to myself, "Remember, any workout is a good workout." Then I had second thoughts. "Is that really true?" I asked myself.
I do think that's a good rule of thumb. You see it a lot of places, but I realized that in terms of advising other people, I need to make a couple of caveats.
The main qualification is that the workout should use proper technique. So, if you are doing plyometric exercises such as squat jumps, then you need to make sure you are protecting your ankles and lower back. When you bench press, you need to make sure you aren't arching your lower back. I could give a host of examples, but the point is that if you are exercising incorrectly, you could be harming your joints.
The other qualification is that I'd rather have my clients spend at least five minutes warming up, even if they are only doing a ten or fifteen minute workout. Warming up allows you to sense whether your body is ready for exercise. It also gets the joints moving and flexible.
Why have I mentioned the joints in two paragraphs? It's because most people think about either cardio or muscular development when they think about working out. However, the joint is really your main concern. The joint is the focus. That's where the action happens. Muscles move the joint, not the other way around. In addition, the joint is where bones, tendons and ligaments interact. Tearing or straining ligaments because you aren't warmed up can limit training and mobility for the foreseeable future, especially if you are my age or older.
So, even if you have only fifteen minutes, go for a workout. It can be as simple as a five minute routine of unweighted squats, a plank, and then rotating the shoulders to get the rotator cuffs warm. Then you can follow with a few yoga poses or some basic stretching, then finish off with five minutes of resistance training. Sometimes I start by walking up and down my stairs a few times while I lift my arms up in the air. Then I stretch, then I'll do a few sets of pull-ups, and that's my fifteen minute workout. I can usually get in three sets of pull-ups with a little rest in between.
I recommend that you don't just jump into heavy lifting or plyometric exercise without warming up, just because you are short on time. The chances of injuring yourself greatly increase, and it's just not worth it.
Don't let time constraints stop you from doing something, but remember to warm up and to use proper technique so that you don't hurt yourself. If you don't know proper technique, ask a professional. One of the worst things you can do in exercise is to hurt yourself and prevent yourself from from exercising tomorrow and the next day. So, absolutely, any workout done with good technique and proper warm up is better than nothing. So, go for it. Next time you think you don't have time for exercise. Walk up and down your stairs for a few minutes. If you don't have stairs, you can walk with high knee raises for a few minutes. There are a multitude of things you can do in five to ten minutes that might not have as much value as a full workout, but they'll be better than doing nothing. Have a great day.