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Health Matters: Common workout mistakes

Exercise smarter – and safer – to maximize your results and to help you get more out of your workouts.

We all have good intentions when we go to exercise, but there are common workout mistakes we can make that sidetrack getting the results we want. To get the most from your fitness routine and avoiding injury, here are four common workout mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Skipping the warm up

Muscles need to be warmed up prior to exercising. Increasing body temperature and blood flow loosens the muscles and minimizes your risk of injury. A warm up doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out affair. It can be something simple like marching in place for 5 minutes. Pretty much any activity that gets blood, heat and oxygen to the muscles will suffice.

2. Lifting too much, too soon

Lifting too much weight can lead to muscle tears. How do you know how much is enough? Choose a weight that allows you to complete your goal number of reps with proper form. This is, for the most part, a trial and error method because no two people are alike. It’s always best to start off with a lighter weight than what you think you can do and go up from there. Typically, larger muscle groups like the legs, back and chest can handle heavier weights whereas the smaller muscles groups like the arms, shoulders and calves do best with lighter loads.

3. Using poor posture

Exercising with poor posture means that you are increasing your chance of injury. The challenge, of course, is knowing when you are doing something wrong. This is especially true if you have been relying on techniques from “back in the day” or ones you learned from your best friend. Exercise science is an ever-evolving field and there is a good chance that techniques from even five years ago have been updated. Your best bet is to hire an exercise professional, like a Kinesiologist, to show you the right way, the first time.

4. Not changing your routine

If you keep doing the same exercises over and over, you’ll more than likely get bored, but more importantly, your workouts will get less effective. Doing the exact same workout every time, whether that’s always going the same yoga class or running the same route doesn’t give your body the variety it needs to change and improve. If you’re just starting out to exercise, switch things up every couple of months. If you’ve been at it awhile, adjust your routine every month. You don’t have to make wide, sweeping changes. For example, try switching the type of class you take, change the speed you exercise at, change the amount of rest time in between sets or workouts and the type of exercise you do.

Why not try implementing these tips the next time you exercise?