Are you trying to get fit without a good plan? Using the right ways to work out is just as important as avoiding the wrong ways to work out, so it’s time to get educated about your body and how to get it into great shape. Here are some tips to help make your fitness journey easier and smarter.

When doing crunches, be careful not to strain your neck. If you put your tongue to the roof of your mouth while doing them, this can actually help to properly align your head and neck. Experts disagree on whether this helps on a physical or physiological level. Either way, it does seem to lessen neck strain.

Finding a fitness buddy can motivate you to keep working out. By finding someone to work out with, you can have someone to talk to, hang out with, and hold yourself accountable to. You are less likely to skip out on a workout if you are supposed to meet someone there.

To get the most benefit out of your strength training, incorporate stretches into your routine. At least one scientific study suggests that if you pause after training your muscles and spend 20-30 seconds stretching out whatever muscle (or set of muscles) it is you’ve been working, this will increase your strength.

Increase the effectiveness of your walking workout. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and pump your arms with every step you take. This encourages you to walk faster, increases your heart rate, and can burn 15% more calories than if you keep your arms by your side. Try to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, and you will see the results in no time.

A high calorie diet will allow for you to fully utilize your workout. You will be using the calories to provide energy and make your workout last longer. This will allow your muscles to grow because they will be able to tear and heal which makes the muscle stronger.

Setting up an exercise area at home or home gym can be an attractive option for those who either don’t have the time, the will, or the money to go to a professional gym. Many exercises can be done in the home and one can still achieve whatever fitness level they desire provided they put in the effort.

Hiking is a great way to stay fit without having to spend a day at the gym. A state park is a great place to hike, sinc most of them have well groomed, predesignated trails. Not only will you get a cardiovascular workout, but there’s a good chance you will also take in some spectacular views.

The above tips should have helped whip your mental ideas about fitness into shape, so now it’s time to use them to work on your body and your health, too! Use them to build yourself a perfect, well-informed fitness plan and you’ll be well on your way to amazing health and a body that’s just as perfect as the plan that created it.