Many fitness enthusiasts make the following mistakes that can and should be easily prevented to stay safe while exercising.
Doing too much, too fast
When you first start a new exercise program, you are excited and want to jump to the more advanced moves right away or instead of starting off with just a 30 minute workout you decide you need 60-90 minutes. Jumping into a workout routine too fast and thinking that “more is better” will get you in serious trouble. Joint pain and injuries will happen when you don’t let your body get used to exercise (especially if it’s been awhile since you worked out). Slow progress is the best progress and you will see the most changes from it.
Performing the same activities over and over
Too much of a good thing is true especially when you tax the same muscle groups and joints every single day. Find activities you enjoy to do so you stick to the program but make sure you aren’t doing the same repeated moves over and over and over again. You may like running, but it’s important to incorporate strength training and yoga into your routine as well. Changing up your routine also makes it more interesting so you will keep coming back.
Wearing the wrong footwear and never going barefoot
You know you navigate right towards the shiny, colorful, and fun shoes in the shoe department, but function is better for you than style. Anytime you do high impact exercise like HIIT or running, it’s important to have shoes that lessen the impact and help prevent injuries. If you don’t like wearing sneakers, you can exercise barefoot, with caution. Barefoot workouts are great because your feet can get more range of motion and your soles are full of sensors that provide feedback about body position and alignment. I recommend to my clients that wear shoes all day at work, to walk around the house barefoot when they come home so their feet can get stretched and strengthened. I love being barefoot and really feel it in my feet when I’m in shoes too long. If you love wearing shoes and never go barefoot, then maybe try Vibram Five Finger shoes which give you the feeling of being barefoot but without actually being barefoot.
Exercising with bad form
Proper form is crucial for preventing injuries. Never do an exercise without learning the proper form of doing it.
Skipping the warm up, cool down or stretches
My husband totally disagrees with me on this one (as do many men that don’t like to stretch), but it really is important to not skip these. Warming up your body increases circulation to your muscles and joints and gets your body prepared for the workout. Stretching and cooling down after a workout brings your heart rate back down so you don’t have venous pooling (where blood gathers in your extremities). Stretching after a workout when your body is warm will prevent injury and will increase mobility. The better mobility you have the better you can perform your workout too.
Doing too many high-impact and HIIT workouts
High-impact and HIIT are two different types of workouts, but you can have lots of high-impact exercises within a HIIT workout. High-impact means when one or both of your feet leave the ground at any point during the exercise. Low-impact is when your feet are always on the ground…in other words – no jumping. HIIT workouts are High Intensity Interval Training, where you work really hard for a certain time period then rest for a certain time period and keep repeating for the duration of the workout. These workouts are quick (usually 15-30) minute workouts but are really intense. You should only do 2-3 high-impact or HIIT workouts per week, and incorporate other low-impact workouts like yoga, swimming, biking & hiking into other days of the week.
Skipping your rest days
This is one of the most important tips and one that sometimes is more mental than anything. I used to exercise daily, pushing myself too hard and thought that if I went a day without exercise that I was slacking. I love exercising and had to change my way of thinking. Your body needs rest days just as much as exercising days, especially if your workouts are challenging. Rest days don’t have to mean sitting on the couch all day doing nothing. I like to call my rest days ‘Active Rest’ days because it’s important to keep moving. When your body is resting it’s repairing muscle tissue and allowing your joints to recover. You will see more improvement in your next workout, plus you will see more changes in your body by allowing it to rest 1-2 days a week. If you are a heavy weight lifter, then even 3 rest days is important.
Have you made any of these mistakes?
Stay Healthy my Friends,
Carrie A Groff
-Healthy, Fit & Barefoot!