Regular exercise has a whole host of health benefits, including:
- Reducing your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease
- Increasing your energy levels
- Improving your mood
- Building strong muscles and bones
- Improving brain health and memory
- Promoting better quality of sleep
However, in order to gain these health benefits, it’s important that you’re exercising correctly.
Your fitness regime may include weight training, running, swimming or dancing to name a few, but are you guilty of these common fitness mistakes? Take a look at some frequent ones and how to address them.
Not warming up
Warming up before any form of exercise, whether it’s strength training in the gym or going for a run, is crucial.
Make sure you’re doing some light cardio exercises combined with stretches prior to your workout. This will increase your body temperature, heart rate and circulation, as well as preparing your muscles for the main event.
Additionally, warming up your muscles will help to prevent a whole array of avoidable injuries.
Not keeping hydrated
When you exercise, you can lose a lot of fluid, particularly through sweating and breathing. If you don’t keep your fluid levels topped up, you can get dehydrated. Dehydration can have negative effects on how well you perform during your fitness session, as well as on your general health. Make sure you’re keeping hydrated and drinking before, during and after you exercise to help boost your energy levels.
Remember, staying hydrated is particularly important in the summer in warmer temperatures.
Overworking your body
Not listening to your body is something we’re all guilty of.
Remember to always listen to your body. If something isn’t feeling quite right, stop what you’re doing and take a break from exercising for a couple of days. It’s likely that if you continue exercising with an injury, you’ll make it worse. You may also choose to get a sports massage to soothe any aches and pains.
Poor technique when strength training
Your form and technique are one of the most crucial parts of participating in strength training whilst not causing yourself injuries.
Keep an eye on your posture and be wary that if you’re lifting weights that are far too heavy for you, this will have a negative effect on your technique, which could cause an injury.
For further information, take a look at these gym exercises commonly done incorrectly.
Poor posture on cardio machines
When you’re using a treadmill, bike or stair climber, it’s common to arch your back and hunch over when you begin to feel tired. This can cause back and neck pain so should be avoided.
Make sure your posture is upright and your core is tight. Focus your eyes so you’re looking straight in front of you.
Not giving yourself enough time to recover from an injury
You may think you’re ready to return to exercise after an injury, but are you really? It’s important that you check with your local GP or physiotherapist before beginning to exercise again.
Pushing yourself too soon will only increase your recovery time and could even make your injury worse.
Not taking rest days
Rest days are crucial to your fitness regime; they allow your muscles to rebuild and recover properly before your next workout.
When you work out, your body breaks down the fibres and connective tissue in your muscles, in the form of small muscle tears. By giving your body the chance to rest between fitness sessions, you allow your body to repair the tissue damage and thus get stronger.
Allowing your body to recover with rest days also helps you to become fitter and prevents injuries related to overworking your body.
Not cooling down
Cooling down should be an essential part of your workout. Cooling down has many benefits including allowing your heart rate to return to a normal rate slowly, to prevent you from feeling light headed.
Stretching during a cool down also helps to relax your muscles and to restore the length of your muscles.
Ignoring your nutrition
Remember that what you do outside of the gym can be just as important as what you do inside the gym. Make sure you’re eating the right types of foods and enough of it to help aid your recovery after exercising. Not eating enough nutritious food may lead to an injury due to decreased concentration levels or light headedness.
Fuelling your body with healthy, non-processed foods is not only necessary for working out, it plays a huge role in your every day functioning and your long-term health.
For more fitness advice, get in touch to speak one of our specialists at Harpenden Physiotherapy. If you’re suffering from a fitness or sport related injury or a running injury, visit your local GP or physio. Book an appointment with us today.