You exercise regularly. You’ve outlined your objectives and you’re sticking to the plan. But you’re still not making any progress. Could you be unintentionally sabotaging your exercise goals?
Missing a few key steps in your exercise routine can mean the difference between success and the same old, same old. Here are three common exercise mistakes that can keep you from reaching your goals – and what you can do to fix them.
Mistake #1: Little or no warm up
A proper warm up is vital to any exercise routine as it prepares your cardiovascular system to effectively handle an increased workload. Warming up muscles and joints before strength or resistance training has also been shown to increase the effectiveness of the workout.
The fix – before hitting the treadmill at high intensity, start with five minutes of light exercise to guarantee your cardiovascular system is primed and ready to deliver oxygen to your working muscles. Be sure to include three or four dynamic exercises that focus on the muscles and joints you’ll be working. For example, if you plan to perform squats during your workout, try warming up with some squat openers.
Mistake #2: Doing the same workout every day
Completing only cardiovascular exercise and ignoring strength training, or vice-versa, can keep you from hitting your health objectives. Both cardio and strength play key roles in promoting and maintaining weight loss, preventing chronic disease and maintaining functional abilities.
The fix – when it comes to exercise, variety is key. An exercise program that consists of cardiovascular and strength exercises that support the activities you enjoy will help ensure you keep enjoying them for years to come.
Mistake #3: Skipping out on the cool down
Like the warm up, the cool down has several functions, such as decreasing the amount of stress on the cardiovascular system by slowly returning your heart rate and blood pressure back to their resting rates. It’s also important to stretch during your cool down, as this helps increase flexibility in areas that are stiff or tight, which helps prevent injuries.
The fix – after completing a challenging cardio session, allow yourself five minutes of easy exercise before getting off the treadmill. Include at least three or four static stretches on the areas you worked. For example, stretch your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings for cardiovascular or lower body resistance workouts. Make sure to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.
If you have any questions about warm ups, cool downs or incorporating variety into your workouts, speak with your Copeman kinesiologist.