Been exercising without seeing any results? Falling prey to one workout injury after another? Whether you're hitting a wall with workout results, or injuring joints and muscle in quick succession, the bottom-line always spells trouble. You end up shelving the workout altogether. But hang in there. Don’t give up on your exercise routine yet. Perhaps the problem is not in the exercise, but the way in which you are exercising? Here are a few common fitness blunders we tend to make as beginners, and how we can deal with them:
The "gym slouch"
There are many people in the gym who have a habit of leaning on equipment while using it. Generally known as the ‘gym slouch’, it almost seems as if these people lean on treadmill or cross trainers for survival. But leaning does not provide enough support to your spine. In a way, holding on to sidebars and handles on cardio equipment lets you ‘cheat’ as it keeps you from moving your arms. Rather than gripping, try to rest your fingers on the bars from your index finger to the pinkie. Gradually, as soon you get more comfortable, drop your fingers one by one.
Speeding up your reps
Performing weight-lifting repetitions extremely fast ups your blood pressure and increases your chances for joint injury, hence leading to unwanted results. Fitness trainers say that the safest way to use strength machines or dumbbells is- exhale for two counts while lifting, and hold for a short time at the top (feel the muscles tighten and contract), then come back as you inhale for four counts. It is advisable to exhale during the hardest part of the exercise. Besides leading to injuries, fast weight reps offer limited results.
Avoid stretching when your muscles are cold at the start of a workout. This can lead to pulled or torn muscles. Always stretch at the end of your workout, or after a considerable warm up phase (after skipping, sprinting, running, jumping, etc for at least 7-10 minutes). Avoid bouncing during your stretch as it elevates your risk of straining or pulling muscles. Instead, maintain a static stretch with no movement at the joints. Your body must feel lengthened; However, not to the point of hurting.
Getting stuck in a never-ending rut
Is exercising just one long boring drill for you? Are you stuck in a workout rut with the same workout for over six months? It's about time you fixed this. Sit and chalk out a new workout plan with your trainer, join a new exercise class, start a new fitness activity. When you repeat the same workout for a long time, your body isn't challenged by it any more, and ends up hitting a plateau from where there are little to no results. You're working the same muscles, at the same speed. Thus, muscles expand less energy burning fewer calories.Keep your workout routine fresh.
Warm up and coold down mistakes
Without warming up you are pretty much asking your body to work before the extra oxygen and blood flow reach the muscles, thus increasing the danger of muscle injury. Spending 5 to 10 minutes on a good warm up helps raise your body temperature from inside out - something your muscles need for adequate performance. Cool downs work in a similar manner, when it comes to taking care to avoid workout injuries. If you skip cool downs, you put your muscles at risk of soreness as you haven't flushed the lactic acid out of your system. It helps in lowering your heart rate back to normal and keeps you energised all day long.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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