So, you decided to begin exercising regularly. Good choice, but be careful – many people begin exercising with the best of intentions, only to accidentally hurt or overwork themselves. In fact, there a number of common errors that exercise novices frequently make when adjusting their lifestyles. You can avoid these potholes to better health by simply following a few rules and guidelines.
- Don’t Overdo It
While you might be tempted to try and burn off as many calories as possible, or to pack on pounds of muscle, you would be better served by starting out slow. Studies have shown you can reap significant health benefits from just ten minutes of daily exercise. Avoid overburdening yourself by exercising too frequently or too hard, as this could lead to injury.
- Pay Attention to ALL of Your Muscles
Often times, the biceps and abs get the lion’s share of attention from people looking to bulk up. While these muscles certainly deserve attention, they shouldn’t be your only areas of concern. Make sure to devote a nice chunk of time towards working out a variety of muscles throughout your body.
- Work on Your Technique
Having poor exercise technique can sabotage your workout; many well-intentioned individuals inadvertently injure themselves and/or reduce the effectiveness of their exercises. For example, you might let your knee extend beyond your toes while stretching, or use momentum to help you lift weights. In addition, many people with little workout experience fail to exercise using their full range of motion.
- Change Up Your Routine
When it comes to working out, a number of people take an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach. Unfortunately, performing the same exercises over and over again will cause your routine to lose its effectiveness, and can cause you to lose interest in working out. Try and learn new exercises to incorporate into regular workout routine.
- Ask for Help if You Need It
It’s always a good idea to ask for help if you are not sure how to use certain machines at the gym. Failing to properly set up equipment to reflect your weight and capabilities is a recipe for injuries.
- Remember to Warm Up
You might want to jump right into challenging workouts, but research has confirmed that taking 5 to 10 minutes to warm up decreases your odds of injury. Warm up exercises gradually increase your heart rate and body temperature, which should adequately prepare you to work out.
- Set Realistic Goals
While you may want to try to jog 60 minutes straight or bench 200lbs right off the bat, it’s important to set goals that you can reach without putting yourself at risk at injury. When setting fitness goals, it is crucial to take into account your current fitness level and overall capabilities.
- Show Proper Etiquette at the Gym
Keep in mind that the gym is a public place, so be considerate to other exercisers by wiping off machines after you are done using them. In addition, try not to hog certain machines that are popular with other gym members.