Finding or making time to exercise is
the first step toward improving your health, but it's not the only step.
Workouts can be challenging and mistakes in the gym are common. At times,
these mistakes can cause mild strains or more significant injuries.
changing small parts of your routine, you'll begin to see incredible results.
ACE, America's Authority on Fitness, shares the following mistakes commonly
made in the gym and offers tips to help individuals stay safe during their
- The all-or-nothing approach.
Not having a full hour to exercise is no
reason to skip your workout. Research shows that even 10 minutes of
exercise can provide important health benefits.
- Unbalanced strength-training programs.
Most people tend to focus on
certain muscles, such as the abdominals or biceps, because they have a
greater impact on appearance or it is where they feel strongest. But
to achieve a strong, balanced body, you have to train all the major
- Bad form.
The surest way to get injured in a gym is to use bad form.
For example, allowing the knee to extend beyond the toes during a
lunge or squat can put undue stress on the knee, and using momentum to
lift heavy weights or not exercising through a full range of motion
will produce less-than-optimal results.
- Not progressing wisely.
Exercising too much, too hard or too often is
a common mistake made by many fitness enthusiasts. Rest and gradual
progression are important components of a safe and effective exercise
- Not enough variety.
Too many people find a routine or physical
activity they like -- and then never change it. Unchanging workouts
can lead to boredom, plateaus and, worse case, can lead to injury or
- Not adjusting machines to one's body size.
Most exercise equipment is
designed to accommodate a wide range of body types and sizes. But it's
up to you to adjust each machine to your body's unique needs. Using
improperly adjusted machines will lead to less-than-optimal results
and increase your risk of injury.
- Focusing on anything but your workout.
The importance of being
"mindful" of the task at hand cannot be overstated. Reading or
watching TV can adversely affect the quality of your workout because
the distraction can literally slow you down.
- Not properly cooling down after your workout.
Too many people wrap up
their workouts and head straight to the showers. Instead, take a few
minutes to lower your heart rate and stretch your muscles. This not
only improves flexibility, but also helps prepare the body for your
- Poor gym etiquette.
This can range from simply being rude -- lingering
on machines long after you are done or chatting loudly on your cell
phone -- to poor hygiene and not wiping your sweat from machines once
you're finished. Always be considerate of other exercisers.
- Not setting realistic goals.
Unrealistic and vaguely stated goals are
among the leading causes of exercise dropout. The key is to establish
a training goal that is specific and appropriate for your fitness and
skill levels -- something a bit challenging but not overly difficult.
NOTE: You should always check with your own healthcare professionals in all matters concerning health, exercise and diet.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's Authority on Fitness, is
a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical
activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness
products and instruction.
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