We all know we should be exercising to make ourselves fitter, stronger and healthier, but entering into a workout routine or the gym and blundering through without considering the impact on your body can lead you to do more bad than good, despite your best intentions.
Whether you’re a newbie or think you know the ropes, ignoring the advice of the fitness professionals can lead to injury, fitness woes, and your health goals being further away than you imagined.
Mistakes are easy to make when it comes to fitness, so take a look at some of the common mishaps which could happen everywhere from the treadmill to the swimming pool.
Not Warming Up
You may be eager to start your workout, or skip this vital step out of sheer laziness, but avoid warming up properly and your body will certainly not thank you for it. Warming up your muscles before you begin exercising is one of the best ways to prevent injuries.
Warming up should take around 6 minutes and should include every part of your body, focusing on the areas you’ll be working out in particular. Marching on the spot, rolling each body joint individually can all help to make your workout more effective and get the blood pumping round your body.
Or Cooling Down
Post-workout we all probably want to scarper, but if you want your body to recover then incorporating a cool down into your routine can help to reduce the chance of aches and pain developing in the body.
Getting your heartrate back to normal, stretching out muscles and reducing body temperature are what you should be aiming for. A 5 minute cool down should consist of stretching out the muscles worked to remove lactic acid focusing on calves, thighs, hamstrings and shoulders.
Being Strict on Time
Exercise guidelines are constantly changing when it comes to the amount of time we should be exercising per day, so knowing how long or short we should be keeping our workouts too can leave us feeling as though we never know if we are doing too much or too little to keep ourselves fit.
The NHS recommends doing around 150 minutes of exercise per day, which equates to around 30 minutes a day 5 days per week. When you break this down it’s actually a pretty manageable amount, and working out for hours on end a day isn’t necessary or actually doing your body much good.
Repeating the Same Routine
Creature of habit or training for a specific event, once we find something we love and most importantly enjoy doing then it becomes hard to break from the usual routine, but rinsing and repeating the same old workout can lead your body to adapt to your regime and prevent you from reaping the physiological benefits.
The aim of working out is often to keep us healthy and in shape, but by doing the same exercise weekly your body will simply plateau rather than improve. Plus, when you do the same routine you’re only working out the same areas of your body rather than working out the whole body, which is going to leave areas weaker than others which can ultimately lead to injury.
Weight Lifting Myths
Many think if they lift weights they’ll become too bulky, and instead avoid lifting altogether, but if your aim is to look toned then lifting weights can help to remove the fat that covers muscles resulting in a leaner appearance.
Strengthening your body to cope with your workouts should be a priority, stronger muscles help to support body alignment and protect bones, joints and muscles when impacted by exercise. Strength training can help to eliminate weaker areas in your body, so that when completing activities your overall body is strong and imbalances are evened out.
Doing Too Much
If you’re a workout novice or have been taking a break, rushing into exercise can leave your body in a state of distress rather than feeling the positive impacts of a workout. Doing too much too soon will leave your muscles fatigued and could even leave you resting up for a few days or a week.
Build up your stamina and strength slowly. If everyone else in the class is going full pelt it doesn’t mean you have to as well, many fitness instructors ask if anyone is new or has injuries and offer easier solutions if needs be. Don’t feel embarrassed that you can’t do something, just take your time and you’ll soon be top of the class.
Ignoring Fitness Professionals
If you join the gym it’s likely you’ll be offered an induction appointment which will go through how to use the machines and provide exercise recommendations, but whilst many of us brush these aside ignoring the advice of the experts can leave you gambling with your workout.
Devising a fitness routine which benefits your body and your goals is essential, diving in head first without a clue how to use a machine or what part of your body you’re actually training can leave your body vulnerable.
And Ignoring Technique
As with most things, take a shortcut and you’ll notice that you’ve taken the quick route and set yourself up for failure, but do things properly and you’ll reap the benefits. With all exercises and in particular with weight training, doing the exercises correctly will help to prevent injuries from occurring.
Poor posture and core, stepping or twisting the wrong way during a move can all lead your body to become out of step and sync with the move you are trying to complete. If you don’t have the advice of a professional at hand, always do you research before you try a new move and take it slowly.
Not Adjusting Workouts
We’re all unique in both our approach to fitness and our fitness levels, so it’s natural that workouts should be adjusted and tailored to each individual too. The same goes for adjusting gym equipment too, being lazy and leaving it on the settings of the previous user can leave you over or under reaching which can cause injury.
You could be putting different parts of your body under unnecessary stress, so always make sure that you adjust le-extension machines to sit comfortably within reach and arm machines too. Even if you aren’t using a machine, you can still put yourself at risk of injury. For example, when you lunge or squat your knee shouldn’t extend beyond your toes or you could put stress on the knee joint.
Not Listening to Your Body
Our bodies are incredibly intelligent and if an injury occurs, whether you can physically see it or not, it’s likely you’ll feel the effects. If your body hurts then listen to it and don’t push yourself further in vain or the ‘no pain, no gain’ mantra.
Overusing certain parts of the body and excessive, repetitive action can lead the body to breakdown in pain. Investing in a sports massage can help your body to recover quicker and improve performance, by alleviating muscle stress through muscle moblisation and manipulation.
Staying fit and healthy is different for everyone, but by avoiding these exercise pitfalls you should be on your way to fitness success.