Regular physical activity can have a great benefit to your long-term health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that exercise can have positive effects on brain health, weight management, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The best way to reap these rewards is to alleviate any workout mistakes that are common practice.
And the National Library of Medicine agrees, explaining that it can reduce injury and disease in a variety of ways. Despite this, an estimated 80% of American adults don’t exercise enough. Of course, you can’t just jump into any workout and expect immediate results – the health benefits are only achieved after long stretches of regular workouts done correctly to maximize potential.
A government study found that overexertion and accidents (such as falls or awkward landings) contributed to the vast majority of injuries. Make sure to avoid these common workout mistakes that can reduce your health benefits or even lead to a traumatic and debilitating injury.
1. Improper Form
Consequence – lack of results and injury
All exercises, equipment, and sports have a specific technique and form that should be followed. Getting into a yoga pose incorrectly, for example, can end up causing more long-term pain than it relieves.
This is true with lifting weights, throwing a ball, and running too. If you don’t pay attention to using proper form, you are getting fewer results from your workouts and are at higher risk of injury.
We get bad posture habits whether we’re idle or walking. This causes bad habits and techniques that can wreak havoc on your body in the long run. In fact, bad running technique is the most common cause of injury.
This is why you often hear coaches telling their athletes to watch their form. Professional athletes even study their form after the fact to improve.
Pay attention to your form and make sure you’re performing the workouts correctly to reduce your risk of injury. A good technique goes a long way to reducing possible injury.
2. Skipping Warm up/Cool Down
Consequence – lack of performance and injury
Whether you’re playing sports, singing, or giving a speech, it’s important to warm up before you do. And you shouldn’t ignore the proper cooldown process afterward either, as abruptly hitting the brakes can be just as detrimental to your health as the workout itself.
The American Heart Association explains that warming up before working out dilates your blood vessels to provide more oxygen to your muscles. It also raises your core body temperature to increase your body’s flexibility. This ultimately keeps your heart healthier as well, as it is a muscle too and can be put under strenuous conditions during exercise.
Stretching both before and after a workout helps to better moderate your body’s temperature and keep you from passing out or feeling nauseous. It also relieves lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during workouts which can cause muscle cramps. Consider a concussive massage device like the Hydragun for maximum cooldown benefits.
3. Not Working Out Enough
Consequence – lack of results and long-term health concerns
As the Mayo Clinic illustrates, exercise must be done regularly to have many benefits. It’s called a healthy lifestyle because it’s a way of life that requires dedication on a daily basis to build routines. Even resting your muscles must become a routine (which we will discuss further in a moment), but the easiest way to derail the health benefits of exercise, it’s to not do it regularly.
Doing just one push-up isn’t going to help you build strength to last for the rest of this sentence, much less the rest of your life. You only get one body in life, so why would you not focus on keeping it in peak condition through regular maintenance just like your car?
Not exercising regularly can lead to you experiencing a higher risk of disease and injury. You’re more likely to fall, and you’re more likely to be hurt when you do. A healthy workout routine should be as much a part of your daily life as waking up, taking a shower or bath, and brushing your teeth.
4. Working Out Too much
Consequence – injury and diminishing returns
While workouts can be healthy, everything must be done in moderation and balanced out with everything else to remain effective. I know it’s tempting to hit the gym for extended periods of time when reaching for a goal or working out emotions like anger or grief. But we can’t get so addicted to our workouts that it becomes unhealthy.
Physical activity takes a toll on your body and pushing your body past its natural physical limits increases is like overclocking your PC. You may temporarily experience a boost in performance, but you’ll overheat, overexert yourself, and injure yourself.
You can get stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and more. It’s even been known to lower your immune system and could cause osteoporosis in women.
I personally suffered a traumatic knee injury that derailed my athletic career. This is why it’s important to work out in moderation and be sure to rotate the muscles you workout for the most effective and beneficial routine. Listen to your body and know when enough is enough.
5. Improper Hydration/Nutrition
Consequence – lack of results, performance, and death
Proper hydration and nutrition are the most important factors in your workout and overall health. This should especially play a role in determining your ideal workout routine. Hydration, for example, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, delivers nutrients to cells, and keeps organs functioning, according to Harvard research.
Meanwhile, both the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) directly link nutrition to chronic disease, obesity, and other serious health concerns. We quite literally are what we eat, and it would behoove you to follow proper nutrition and hydration guidelines to maintain peak performance year-round, whether you’re working out or not.
Besides water and tea, sports drinks are often used to replenish water in our bodies quickly. Everything from Pedialyte to Gatorade can be healthy if you’re using them during normal workout routines.
And you can burn up to 500 calories or more during an average workout session. Be sure you’re replacing that with healthy calories that have nutritional value to build strong muscles. Also, keep in mind that muscles burn more calories than fat.
Overall, exercise can be a huge benefit to your life. You will live longer with a higher quality of life when regularly working out. Just be sure to avoid the mistakes on this list.