Common Fitness Mistakes
Feel like you’re not reaping the benefits of your exercise regimen? You may be guilty of making some of these common fitness mistakes that prevent you from achieving your fitness goals.
Taking on too much, too soon. This is one of the most common fitness mistakes that people make. In the excitement and momentum to get started on a workout program and begin seeing and feeling results, many people tend to do too much, too quickly, which can put them at risk for injury.
Expecting immediate results. Getting in shape takes time, commitment, and hard work. By having unrealistic expectations, you set yourself up for failure, and can discourage you from continuing with your workout routine.
Skimping on the warm up and cool down. It’s important to take 5-10 minutes to warm up before your workout to allow your muscles to adjust to the demands you’re about to place on them and reduce risk of injury. Similarly, take a few minutes to stretch and lower your heart rate after your workout. Stretching while your muscles are still warm will help to improve flexibility, and help prevent soreness. Just be sure not to bounce during stretches, which can increase your risk of pulling or straining muscles.
Falling into in a rut. Besides becoming incredibly boring, after doing the same exercise routine at the same speed and intensity over and over, your muscles become very efficient and adapt to the workout. This may cause you to hit a plateau, because as your muscles adapt, they use up less energy, and you’ll burn fewer calories.
Not adjusting weight machines. Weight machines are not one size fits all, so it’s important that you adjust exercise equipment to fit you. If you are unsure how to adjust the machine or what settings are appropriate for you, ask a trainer or staff member at your gym to help you.
Overlooking cross training. Many people tend to do only cardio OR strength training, or focus only on particular muscle groups. To improve overall fitness, it’s important to have a well rounded exercise regimen that incorporates both cardio and strength training, and works your whole body.
Insufficiently hydrating. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before you reach for your water bottle; by then you’re already on your way to dehydration. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 7-10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
Using Poor Form. You’ll benefit more from doing fewer reps using proper form than you will from doing endless reps using improper form. Additionally, using poor form can lead to injury. The most common form faux pas people commit when exercising include jerking while lifting weights, extending the knee beyond the toes when lunging or squatting, and clasping hands behind the neck during crunches.
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