Exercising is an excellent way to support one’s health. It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves overall well-being. However, when embarking on a new fitness regime, people often make certain mistakes that can hinder their journey or cause physical harm. This can be incredibly frustrating. To avoid running into these problems, this article enlists nine common fitness mistakes people make and how to avoid them.
Personal trainers and fitness experts strongly recommend beginning any workout session with warm-up exercises. This gives the muscles time to prime themselves by getting the blood flowing, increasing body and muscle temperature, and improving muscle elasticity, thereby reducing the risk of injuries.
Choose a warm-up routine that aligns well with the workout plan for the day. For instance, if the workout focuses on squats and lunges, try hip-opening dynamic stretches such as forward bends and jumping jacks.
Working out regularly is an excellent way to stay fit. However, repeating the same workout (mode, intensity, and duration) over and over again may not be beneficial to one’s fitness goal. This happens because the body adjusts to any workout load, which may cause one to hit a plateau.
At the same time, it is also important that one does not switch their exercise regimen too often. This can result in the body receiving insufficient stimulus where it may not exhibit any changes. Stick to a workout plan for four to eight weeks before switching to a new one. Instead, focus on progressive overload. This implies a slow, intentional increase in the intensity, frequency, or duration of an exercise, which can help improve endurance and strength and achieve one’s fitness goals.
Lack of nutrition planning
Incorporating exercise into daily routine can lead to changes in one’s hunger patterns, often resulting in cravings for energy-dense or fatty foods such as biscuits, French fries, pastries, and savory snacks. However, it’s not ideal to give in to these cravings. To supplement these changes, one must create a proper nutrition strategy that replenishes the body after a workout. One can achieve this by following a balanced meal plan that consists of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Plan meals and snacks a few days in advance as this will ensure that one has nutritious post-workout food options and make grocery shopping easy.
Following a one-dimensional workout plan
A good fitness schedule generally includes a healthy blend of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercises. While the intensity of each may differ based on individual goals, one must find a balance between the three. Failing to do this may result in a lopsided workout, compromising the body’s ability to stay agile.
Reducing non-exercise activity
When one starts exercising regularly, it can be tempting to skip other activities and spend the whole day lounging around. This may not be a healthy habit. In addition to burning calories during a workout, one also needs to burn a significant amount of calories through non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). This involves engaging in physical activity such as commuting on foot or bike, taking the stairs, gardening, shopping, and so on.
If one is tired or exhausted to participate in these activities, it may be necessary to evaluate the intensity and duration of the workout program and alter it accordingly.
Using improper form
According to a study, improper form is one of the most common reasons for injuries in high-intensity training. To avoid hurting oneself in the process of getting fit, one must pay close attention to the form and technique of each exercise. For instance, those new to resistance training must try bodyweight exercises instead of picking up dumbbells or barbells. This allows them to understand how their body moves, restore functional movement, and progress with a decreased risk of injury. Booking an introductory session with a personal trainer or following online tutorials may help.
Engaging in any physical exercise causes the body to lose a lot of water through sweating. This can lead to dehydration. To avoid this, one must stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. While the ideal amount of fluid depends on individual factors and activity levels, the American Council on Exercise recommends drinking:
- 17 to 20 oz. of water two to three hours before exercise
- 8 oz. of water 30 minutes before exercise
- 7 to 10 oz. of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
- 8 oz. of water 30 minutes after exercise
Avoiding rest and recovery days
Rest is not a reward earned for exercising. One must understand that adequate rest is crucial to give the body sufficient time to recover from training. To achieve this, individuals can try icing their muscles or engaging in low-intensity active recovery exercises such as walking, swimming, or stretching. While the ideal rest and recovery time varies depending on one’s schedule and the intensity of the workouts, experts generally recommend taking 48 to 72 hours of rest to allow for proper muscle repair.
Attempting to try out new exercises too soon
In the excitement of starting a new workout regime, people often end up pushing themselves a little too much. This can result in overexertion, leading to unusual or persistent muscle soreness, delayed recovery, performance declines or plateaus, prolonged fatigue, low energy or moodiness, irregular menstrual cycles, or even loss of appetite.
For the best results, it is essential to take a moderate approach, follow progressive overload, and pay proper attention to rest and recovery by eating healthy and sleeping well.