Written by MindMate Staff
If you’re serious about leading a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly, then you’ll want to squeeze as much benefit as possible from every session. But whether you’re a beginner or a serious elite-level athlete, people of all abilities can slip into bad habits that prevent you seeing the results you’re aiming for.
When you put time and effort into exercising, it makes sense that you want to get the maximum benefits for your work. Fortunately, avoiding the major fitness mistakes is easy once you're aware of them. Read on carefully as we highlight 7 of the most common mistakes people make:
Skipping Your Stretches
Warming up before you work out might seem like a chore and something that can be skipped over if your lacking in time or motivation. But it’s really not an exaggeration to say that stretching and warming up your muscles is the most important part of any exercise session. Without warming up, you are susceptible to injury, you won’t be able to perform to your maximum level, and you risk long-term aches, pains and injuries.
To warm up properly, perform 5-10 minutes of cardio (try some jumping-jacks or jump rope) and then follow it up with some dynamic stretches.
Working Out on an Empty Stomach
For an effective workout, it’s super important to fuel your body correctly beforehand. When you exercise, you burn calories and exert energy. If your body can’t get enough energy from its stores, it will begin to eat its own muscle and your entire workout will become counterproductive. The key is glucose, which your body needs alongside its stores of fat to fuel the work of your muscles. When your blood sugar (glucose) levels are low, you’ll feel lethargic and sluggish and exercise will require a lot more effort and be far less productive than if you eat something nutritious pre-workout.
Not Planning your Workouts
It turns out you actually can get too much of a good thing! Well, when it comes to exercise anyway. While working out regularly is great and something to be pursued, if there’s no variation in the type of exercise you do then you won’t see the results you’re hoping for in the long term. That’s because if your body becomes used to the movements of one workout, after a while your results will plateau and the exercise will no longer be as effective.
Instead, keep your body guessing by scheduling in different activities on alternate days.
Why not try ‘yoga Tuesdays’ or ‘weight training Wednesdays’ then mix it up with ‘swimming Saturdays’, don’t be afraid to explore new ways of keeping fit!
Not Putting in Enough Effort
When it comes to the intensity of your workouts, finding balance is the key! Many people struggle to achieve the results they want because they only exercise at a low intensity. To see noticeable results, it’s important to push yourself and work as hard as you possibly can to get the most out of your sessions. Interval training, for example, is a great way to do this. However, it’s also crucial not to go too far the other way, exercising too much or using weights that are too heavy for you can lead to long-term injury and fatigue.
Wasting Your Rest Days
We all know the importance of rest and recovery in fitness, and if you’ve been exercising hard then you definitely deserve it! That said, spending your days in between workouts sitting on the couch isn’t the best way to relax and repair your body. Instead, so some stretches and some light cardio exercises – perhaps a brisk walk or cycle. Being active, even slightly, provides much more opportunity for your body to rest and build strength than doing nothing.
Forgetting About Form
Form is super important; even more important than how fast you run, how much weight you lift or how far you walk. Good form means using your muscles and joints in the correct way so as to force them to work, without injuring them or causing lasting damage. You’ll also enjoy better physical results from your workouts if you are doing them correctly. Whenever you start a new exercise, be sure to focus first on firm by performing at a lower intensity until you are truly comfortable and sure of your technique, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time! Don’t make the same mistake as others.
Not Drinking Enough Water
There’s no set amount of water you should drink during exercise, everyone is different, but if in doubt the best thing is to drink as much as you can.
Your body uses water to lubricate your joints and keep you cool while you sweat, it’s also vital for transporting that nutrients that give you energy. When you’re dehydrated, even mildly, your body won’t be able to perform at its highest level. If you haven’t drunk enough water you’ll be susceptible to tiredness, cramps, dizziness and sluggishness that will prevent you getting the most benefit from your exercise.