Taking the time to exercise is a big step toward a better you! When you invest the time in exercising, you want to see the best results possible in the least amount of time. But many exercisers unknowingly handicap themselves by making hidden mistakes. Typically these errors go undiscovered until someone points them out, or a great exercise article comes along to explain the right way to achieve physical fitness. Which is why it is important to be aware of potential mistakes in order to avoid them. Let’s discuss a few of the most common mistakes that people make during workouts and how to avoid them.
Wearing the Right Shoes for your exercise!
Exercising without the proper footwear is only setting yourself up for future suffering! There is a reason why shoes are designated for running, cross-training or walking, and it’s not just to sucker you out of the most money. Each exercise activity demands different things of your feet and the shoes are designed specifically to support the areas of the foot that undergo the most stress. You won’t feel any immediate effects from wearing walking shoes while running but over time some problems will surface. If you participate in a variety of sports and activities, the best choice is probably a cross-training shoe, which aims to support multiple areas of the foot. When you go to your local shoe store and the salesperson asks if you need assistance, take them up on it! Describe your typical workout and the frequency, and they should be able to recommend the best shoe that fits your needs. This may not be cheapest shoe but it shouldn’t necessarily be the most expensive either. If you are unsure about the recommendation, visit another shoe store for a second opinion.
Exercising barefoot! The only time this is appropriate is when you are exercising in sand! All other surfaces simply place too much stress on the foot to be acceptable. Do yourself a favor and buy the right shoes for your workout – your feet will thank you and you will have a more enjoyable workout.
Whether you are exercising or not, poor posture affects your health. This is probably the all-time worst offender. Bad posture while you exercise means that you’re most likely not getting the full benefit of your workout. It can also cause pain and stiffness later. This is also referred to as “having proper alignment” and means keeping your spine in the best possible position. A neutral stance with shoulders back and head held high is usually best. When your body is out of alignment, it can prevent you from getting the most out of your exercise – poor alignment in abdominal crunches will not only give you a neck-ache but also work the wrong muscles and potentially bulk up your stomach instead of flattening it! Many trainers recommend imagining a string attached to the top of your head and pulling your body straight to help keep good posture. Slumping and hunching over may give you some relief initially but standing up straight provides the best support for the body and feels most secure. If you need help remembering to check your posture during your workout, make it a point to visualize the right way to exercise before you start. Many people use visualization techniques to improve performance, use it to see yourself exercising the right way to get the best results.
Know the Intensity of Your Workout
Many exercisers overestimate the intensity of workouts and give themselves too much credit. The right intensity in your exercise routine is an individual decision. A good general guideline is to try to carry on a conversation. If you can speak in short sentences with a breath after each one, you’re in the general area. Needing a breath after each word is the high end of the intensity range, but you should never exercise so hard that you can’t speak. That can be a dangerous situation and if you feel yourself becoming unable to communicate, slow down immediately and allow your body to return to normal.
Pushing your body to the high end of its intensity helps boost your metabolism and burn more calories. Don’t get comfortable in your workout and assume that your efforts are enough. Becoming complacent can seriously hinder your weight loss. Make it a point to push yourself to work hard and your body will reward you with increased aerobic capacity and decreased fat and weight. It’s a good idea to use a heart rate monitor that can accurately identify when you are working within your target heart range. Heart rate monitors can be a useful tool but the best tool of all is your own personal assessment of how hard you think you are working.