Physical activity is widely regarded as one of the most beneficial methods of keeping your weight down, getting your heart rate up, and warding off various lifestyle diseases. If not performed properly, however, exercise can injure you, which may negatively impact every aspect of your life. There is always room for improvement, so here are 10 of the most common mistakes people make when exercising.
1. Incorrect Footwear
If your fitness sessions are plagued by shin splints or muscle fatigue, one of the first places to look is at your feet. As footwear ages, it loses its shock absorption and may no longer provide your feet with the support they need. Replace your shoes as soon as they start to wear down, and consider having three different pairs in rotation.
2. Skipping Rest Days
While one may think that the key to extreme fitness is relentless training, this ceaseless persistence could have adverse health effects. Muscles require time to recover, and if you don’t give them that, you may find a severe reduction in performance and your overall mood. Take a day off! You deserve it.
3. Ignoring Your Diet
Certainly, physical exercise is an essential component of complete fitness, but the body needs clean fuel in order to run at its peak. Double-check your intake of complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, whole wheat foods), protein (eggs, almonds, greek yogurt), and good fats (avocados, cheese, extra virgin olive oil) along with your usual fruit and vegetables. On that note, don’t forget to drink lots of water, drink less alcohol, and quit smoking!
4. Not Warming up or down
Invest time into your preparation and never skip your warm-up stretches. These small movements will encourage flexibility and guard against the risk of injury. Furthermore, one should always lower the impact of a workout gradually near the end of the session by cooling down, as this prevents any sudden changes in blood pressure.
5. Not Pushing Hard Enough
All too often, people stick to their routine, overjoyed at how much easier their sessions have become without ever pushing for improvements. Many athletes abide by the 10% rule, increasing their workout intensity by that figure on a weekly basis. It’s a ballpark percentage that won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth exploring this idea all the same.
6. Pushing Too Hard
A common beginner mistake is to take on too much too quickly. The sudden eager inspiration of getting into shape causes people to lift too many weights, sign up for a marathon without adequate training, or push for a yoga pose they haven’t earned yet. This is a fast way to injure yourself. Always start slow, locate your current point of tolerance, and then escalate gradually.
7. Ignoring the Warning Signs
When the body is in pain, it’s trying to tell you something. If your spine feels peculiar, don’t just dose up painkillers and yoga through it. Get a deep tissue massage instead. If your knee is hurting, don’t keep running and hope for the best. Rather, educate yourself about knee sprain management and care. Be aware that training with pain can cause permanent damage, hence why you should take a break and visit a medical professional if you are uncertain.
8. Repetitive Motions
A large percentage of fitness injuries come from the perpetual strain on one specific area of the body. This is often the case for runners, who may develop iliotibial band syndrome or plantar fasciitis. Mix up your training by jogging on different terrain, attendings classes you’ve never been to, or dedicating days to other muscle groups.
9. Not Concentrating on Technique
It’s dangerous to continuously push yourself as far as you can go. Not only does this approach risk injury, but it’s also not the best method of maximizing your fitness levels. The fastest way to achieve your goals is to practice your technique, as your body will benefit from each and every move if performed correctly. Ask a professional for advice or look online for additional tips.
10. Not Enjoying Yourself
What’s the secret to a lifelong dedication to your health? Having fun while you do so! If you grow bored with the practice, then you may lose interest in the whole exercise scene, and that momentum is difficult to gain back. Mix your fitness up by joining new classes, trying new sports, running different routes, or asking friends to join in with your training.