Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
are part of life. There are little mistakes, like bending your
- elbow and
shanking that easy nine iron into the rough. And then there are
- big mistakes,
like making a tee time and planning a day "with the boys"
- your anniversary.
Either way, mistakes end up costing you.
- When it
comes to working out, there are plenty of mistakes just waiting
- to sidetrack
your fitness regimen. Usually these mistakes fall into one of
- four categories:
doing things wrong, doing too much, doing too little, or
- doing nothing
at all and having that second helping of cheesecake. The one
- thing they
have in common is their universality.
makes mistakes," said Richard Cotton, a spokesman for the
Council on Exercise and an exercise physiologist at First Fitness
- Inc. in
Salt Lake City. "They result in everything from imperceptible
to acute injuries."
A.C.E. surveyed more than 3,000 fitness professionals and asked
- them to
name the worst mistakes they see. Here are their top ten workout
too much weight
exercising intensely enough
drinking enough water
heavily on the stairstepper or treadmill
while lifting weights
energy bars and sports drinks during moderate workouts
- Hmm, sounds
familiar, you say, as you skip that stretching routine and
to jerk a 250 lb. barbell over your head before heading to the
- room for
an energy-giving Snickers bar. In truth, the A.C.E. list is filled
- with common
sense mistakes. It's just a question of taking the time
- and effort
to avoid making them.
some of us have gone well beyond the common mistakes and blazed
new frontiers of screwing up. The hope is that we are the wiser
albeit sorer for it. It would be nice to think we learned something
about our bodies.
- With all
this in mind, we've compiled our own list of workout no-nos. Take
Wounds All Heels
through a workout is a good way to end up sidelined with an injury.
Stretching, warming up, and cooling down are usually the first
things to go out the window, but that's not all you're missing
out on when you hustle in and out of the gym. "You truly
have to slow down and center yourself before exercising, and we
don't do that in this society," Richard Cotton said. "You
need to slow down and really focus. If you do, it's a double-edged
benefit in stress reduction."
weights incorrectly is the cause of many muscular-skeletal problems,
said Lori Thein Brody, a physical therapist and sports clinical
specialist at the University of Wisconsin's Sports Medicine Center.
The key to avoiding them is proper technique. Some tips are: lift
with a slow, smooth, easy motion (like you would lift a
- garage door);
and begin bending from the waist and lower back, sticking your
butt out when lifting from the floor or stretching. Also, many
experts suggest doing lat pull-downs to the front of the body
and not behind your neck. Finally, don't be intimidated. Ask a
trainer for some guidance if you're unsure about how to do a particular
Pain, No Pain
- Repeat after
us: "You don't have to kill yourself." It's one thing
to be training for the Olympics, it's another to look passable
in a pair of Speedos next summer. One thing to keep in mind is
that your cardiovascular system shapes up faster than your bones,
joints and muscles. Which means your heart and lungs may be ready
to go the distance, but the rest of you may not.
- Back off
at the first sign of pain or overexertion.
- A good way
to make sure you're getting an appropriate amount of exercise
is to familiarize yourself with the perceived exertion scale (also
known as the Borg scale), which measures activity from very, very
light to very, very hard. Most men should be working out at a
level that is slightly harder than moderate.
- Also, avoid
"workout persecution" (you know, where you pile on an
- miles to
punish yourself for being so out of shape or for giving in to
that steak and cheese sub at lunch).
Is Bad Bad Bad
- Mix things
up a bit and you'll be more likely to stay healthy. "Cross
training is really the key," Lori Thein Brody said. "Don't
train the same muscle groups the same way day after day."
- She sees
lots of overuse injuries in people who stick to just one sport
or activity. Besides, you should be giving 48 hours of rest to
any muscle group you've exercised, which is best accomplished
by alternating workout routines.
has doomed many a well-intentioned fitness program, which is another
- reason to
mix things up, said Beth Warren, manager of the Dan Abraham Healthy
- Living Center
at the Mayo Clinic. "When there's not enough variety, people
get bored," she said. So make a point to try out as many
different exercises as possible and surprise yourself a few times
a week. As the kids say nowadays: "It's all good."
- Set short-term
goals as well as long-term goals. It's great to want to drop 30
pounds, but it's better to aim for simpler things, like getting
to the gym four days a week or running a certain amount of miles
each month. "So often people have this end physical appearance
in mind and not the right steps to accomplish it," Warren
- Dying is
the worst mistake of all. A spokesperson for the American Heart
Association said statistics concerning sudden death while exercising
aren't kept, and that the numbers are low. Still, it happens,
and you should be aware of it. Never push through pain anyplace
in your body, and stop if you feel dizzy, shortness of breath,
or tightness in the chest area.
The golden rule is always listen to your body. Stay tuned to what
your muscles and joints are telling you and chances are you'll
never go wrong.
Winters writes about health and fitness and lives in Massachusetts.
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