6 Bad Exercise Shortcuts to Cut Out
With full-time jobs, families and house chores, it can be hard for parents to fit in a workout between loads of laundry and soccer practice. If you are like most people, you have probably tried to either multi-task while exercising, i.e., texting while running on the treadmill, or skip a few minor details in your workout to try and fit in everything you need to get done that day. However, cutting corners to save time may do more harm than good. Time is precious – but so is your health.
Take a few minutes to read the following six harmful shortcuts to cut out of your fitness routine to see results more quickly.
- Skipping the Warm-Up
Skipping your warm-up is asking for injury. Warming up prepares the body and mind for movement by increasing the oxygen and blood flow throughout the body and elevates your core temperature. Muscles and tendons will be more flexible and function at a greater capacity after movement that has warmed up your internal body temperature. Flexibility increases range of motion, which helps you avoid injuries.
- Not Cooling Down After a Workout
In order to avoid tightness, cooling down is very important. Sprinting is a great exercise – but not when it’s because you are in a hurry to get finished with your workout! Take the time to lower your heart rate and stretch. This helps return the blood back to your heart at sufficient quantities to flush the muscles of lactic acid and to prevent blood from pooling in your extremities, which can lead to dizziness or nausea.
- Sacrificing Form for Fitness
Rushing through a workout due to lack of time or interest can encourage improper form. Not only does incorrect form lead to injury, it also improperly trains the muscle. To avoid repeatedly using incorrect form, make sure you slow down and get the help of a professional trainer or coach to instruct you on the correct way to do an exercise. You should also ensure you’re using the right equipment and wearing appropriate clothing and shoes.
- Neglecting Proper Machine Set-Up
Improper machine set up can lead to poor results and injury. Most fitness equipment is made to accommodate a variety of body types and sizes and can be adjusted to fit your body. If you are unsure how to adjust the machines, ask a fitness attendant in your gym or a personal trainer.
- Not Progressing Wisely
Don’t overdo it! Overtraining syndrome is very common in the sport and fitness world, but for those who are overly aggressive and excited to start a new program, injuries are common. Muscles and tendons need time to adapt to the increased loads on the body, therefore it is important to gradually increase intensity and duration over a reasonable period of time.
- Resorting to Routine
Including variety keeps it fresh and your muscles guessing. To see improvement, one of three things is necessary: increase in load, increase in intensity or increase in duration. If you stick with the same routine over and over again, you run the risk of burnout, boredom and plateau. Be creative and change it up. Attend a group fitness class, try a boot camp, hire a trainer for a session or two, or simply add a little more weight.
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