Top Ten Fitness Mistakes

November 16, 2012 in Blog

Some of these errors can keep people from reaching their goals, while others can lead to pain or even result in chronic injuries.

  • Not Stretching: People lead busy lives so it’s no wonder that when they cut their workouts short, most do it by leaving out the stretching. This, however, can be hazardous. Stretching, which should be done after your muscles are warm (usually after the entire workout), helps lengthen muscle fibers and prevents the tightening of muscles. If you’re exercising hard, you definitely don’t want to suffer tight muscles the next day. In some situations, lack of stretching can lead to chronic back pain as muscles tighten and mobility and range of motion decreases.
  • Not Warming Up: Second only to stretching, warm ups are high on the list of steps people neglect as part of a healthy workout. Your muscles as well as your cardiovascular system must be eased into a workout. Without a warm up, muscles can be pulled or torn. Your cardiovascular system, meanwhile, uses the warm up to circulate oxygen and blood throughout your body. Without increased oxygen, you will lose steam quickly once you begin working out intensely.
  • Not Cooling Down: This is different from the stretching component of your workout but equally important. A cool down allows for all the blood that has been pooling at your extremities (arms and legs) to return to your core and heart. It also allows your heart rate to gradually slow down and your muscles to recover. Failing to cool down could lead people to feel dizzy or to faint after a workout.
  • Lifting Too Heavy: People who are new working out, or returning to working out, often make the mistake of lifting too heavy because they don’t want to be embarrassed by lifting lighter weights. Unfortunately, this mistake is very dangerous. At the very least, it could lead to torn muscles and in worst case scenarios, could lead to broken bones or even death if you drop the weights on you, especially while lying down. Start with a weight that you feel comfortable with and increase it by 10% each week.
  • Exercising Too Hard: This is also a mistake most commonly made by new exercisers or those returning to exercise. Many people who over-train, actually get so tired, physically and mentally, that they actually become turned off from working out and often give up. Over-training also doesn’t give your muscles enough time to recuperate and since muscles only grow during the recuperation period, you are basically sabotaging your strength gains by training more.
  • Not Drinking Enough Water: While you should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day (opinions vary) you should definitely be drinking more if you’re working out. Aim for 2 glasses of water an hour before your workout and aim for at least 1 cup of water every 15 minutes of your workout. Drinking water will keep your body hydrated and working properly. Dehydration, meanwhile can lead to headaches and even vomiting, muscle cramps and even unconsciousness.

Next time you are working out, remember that those basic steps that you often neglect can actually sabotage your gains and your health. Take the extra time and thought required to complete a proper workout and you will not only reach your goals sooner but you will reach them safely.