10 Exercise Mistakes You Can Avoid


by Anton Maartens

Many common exercise mistakes not only cause serious injuries, it can also deflate whatever motivation you may have left. Use these guidelines to avoid common fitness pitfalls. It will save you a lot of time and effort and prevent unnecessary aches and pains.

Ignoring The Experts. Not taking sound advice is the first exercise mistake many people make. Always consult your physician before starting a new fitness program. It might also be a good idea to hire a reputable personal trainer or qualified fitness trainer, especially if you have been inactive for a long time. The right trainer will have years of experience and can do a lot to get you on the right track from day one. Without help you may waste a lot of time and cause yourself unnecessary harm.

Making Bad Choices. Choosing the right type of exercise makes all the difference in the world. Studies have shown that most people drop out of a new fitness program within the first 3 to 6 months. Why? Well, one of the main reasons is that many people become bored or simply do not enjoy doing exercise. They see it as punishment and not play! To stay motivated you should choose an activity that you will enjoy doing.

Not Knowing Your Limits. Nobody knows your body better than you. Only you really know how much you can handle and what your limitations are. If you suffer from orthopedic problems, such as knee or ankle pain, avoid activities that may aggravate this condition, for instance jogging or high impact aerobics. Instead try a non-weight-bearing activity, such as aqua aerobics or cycling.

Ditching the Warm-up. After all that has already been said and written about this topic, it is amazing to see how many exercisers still neglect this component of their workouts. Some people don’t even make the effort to warm-up properly. A warm-up prepares your body for exercise, makes your workout so much more enjoyable and is crucial in preventing injuries. Actually, there is really no need to debate this at all. Let’s just do it!

Neglecting Technique. Poor technique and poor posture is a major concern among novice and seasoned exercisers. Our comfort-driven, modern lifestyle deprives us from developing proper body awareness and teaches us many bad habits. No wonder many people have no idea how to sit, stand and walk properly or pick up heavy objects the correct way. Make sure you know how to do it correctly. Never take anything for granted when you exercise. Even simple activities like jogging or walking requires a special technique.

Poor Breathing. Yeah, sure. Everybody knows how to breathe! Unfortunately not. Many people actually do not breathe correctly, especially during exercise. Inexperienced exercisers often display rapid and shallow breathing which can lead to shortage of oxygen and even cause dizziness or fainting. By breathing more naturally and deeply you will increase your capacity for exercise and be able to do more for longer with less effort. Remember that proper breathing is not only important during cardiorespiratory or aerobic workouts, but also during weight training and stretching.

Setting Ridiculous Goals. It is true that regular exercise can help you lose weight, but you cannot train away fat in specific areas of your body with numerous exercises for that area. This exercise myth is known as ‘spot reduction’ or ‘spot training’. Thousands of sit-ups or that fancy abdominal crunch machine will not get rid of the ‘love handles’. It is a physiological impossibility!

Too Much Too Soon. You have most likely heard this one before. Nevertheless it remains a common mistake among novice exercisers. An unfit body will respond to exercise very rapidly and beginners usually see dramatic results within the first few weeks. This often inspires them to increase their efforts to get even more or better results. The outcome is often serious injuries or total burnout. Take it easy, you have the rest of your life to exercise.

Too Much Too Late. Experienced exercisers sometimes overestimate their own abilities when they return to their fitness regime after a long holiday or serious illness. Even if you have always been the most respected bodybuilder in your gym or the most co-ordinated stepper in the aerobics studio, does not mean that you haven’t lost a lot of it. Detraining can start within two weeks after your last workout, so be careful of returning with too much confidence. Start slowly, ease back into it and progress one step at a time.

Overtraining. Your resting heart rate is going through the roof, you are verbally abusing everyone in sight, bursting into tears for no reason or dragging yourself through the day. You may be doing more exercise than your body can cope with. Overtraining is no joke. Take a few days off and start at a lower level when you return to your fitness program.

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