Why do we make exercising more complicated than it has to be? Some people are gung-ho when they start but a month later they have thrown in the towel on their fitness dreams. Don’t let that be you. Learn how to avoid common mistakes.
There is nothing more demotivating than getting injured, hitting a plateau, or getting overly obsessive and impatient when it comes to getting fit. Take your time, be patient with your body, and above all, treat yourself with compassion.
Common Exercise Mistakes
Exercise is the one activity that people will jump into without knowing that they are doing. A good fitness program benefits from some research beforehand. Reading up on exercise can save you time and money in the club or home gym. When you know how to work your body and also how to listen to your body, you will stick to a regimen longer. Here are some common exercise mistakes and how to avoid them:
- Skipping the warm up and cool down – Take a rubber band. When it hasn’t been stretched for a while, it may break when you try to use it. The same goes for your muscles. Jumping into an activity without warming those muscles up can lead to injury and a very sore body later on. Conversely, at the end of a workout, your heart rate is still riding high. Stopping without lowering your heart rate slowly is like running into a brick wall. It can be detrimental to your heart. This is particularly true if you’ve been rather lethargic for awhile. Most people radically underestimate how out of shape they’ve gotten. Taking anywhere from a week to a month to focus on stretching to increase your range of mobility and properly warming up your muscles can be the difference between getting back into shape and hurting yourself. If you do get hurt, chances are you’ll be out of the routine long enough to go back to a sedentary lifestyle again.
- Keeping the same routine – Muscles grow when they are confused. Your body burned tons of calories the first time you started a program because your muscles weren’t used to the movements. Once your body gets the hang of the routine, it won’t be as challenged and fewer and fewer calories will be burned. After about six weeks it is time to start a new routine to avoid the plateau effect. Hitting a place where you aren’t losing any more weight is very discouraging and can cause some to quit.
- Avoiding weights – Not everyone wants to have muscles on top of their muscles, but that isn’t likely to happen when you lift weights. Despite the hype, unless you start injecting steroids, or train for many years at a professional level, you are highly unlikely to get a hulk-ish look. Weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones and reduce the loss of muscle as you age. It is essential for both men and women of all ages.
- Eating whatever you want – Exercise is just one component of a healthy body. Working out in the gym for two hours won’t help you much if you are heading to the donut shop afterwards. To lose weight, more calories have to be burned than what is being consumed. A healthy diet in combination with strength/resistance training leads to a better body.
- Using the scale – The scale can be used to give you an indication of where you are starting from. It is not recommended to rely on the scale as a measure of exercise success. Look at the mirror and your clothing to get a better indication of how your work is reshaping your body. What is vastly more important that what particular weight you are, is your body composition.
Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, learn which bad examples are a problem for you so you can pull it together and exercise effectively.