Exercise is a vital component of good health—physically, emotionally, and mentally.
However, some common mistakes people make when working out can counteract the benefits of exercise and potentially lead to injuries.
To help you stay safe and get the most out of your workout, here are six workout mistakes to avoid:
Don’t Hold Your Breath
Sometimes when we exert ourselves during exercise, we hold our breath without realizing it. This may be an attempt to stabilize your torso muscles or hold your position, but it actually puts unnecessary strain on your body.
Instead of holding your breath, focus on breathing slowly and deeply throughout the entire exercise. This will help improve your endurance and performance while also reducing your risk for injury.
Being mindful of your breathing can also help cultivate a more relaxed and positive attitude, which will help you stay motivated to keep exercising.
Don’t Neglect Good Form and Posture
Good form and posture are essential for both safety and effectiveness when working out.
If you are not gripping the equipment properly, have your feet in a bad stance, or are not using the right range of motion, it’s all too easy to get seriously injured.
Poor form can lead to inefficient and less effective workouts, meaning you’re not getting the most out of your time and effort.
When you start a new exercise pattern or workout routine, spend some time learning the proper form and posture for each movement. Consult with trainers or other experts who can guide and reposition you into the correct form.
Don’t Too Much Too Quickly
When starting a new routine, you should ease yourself into it gradually.
Start with lower weights and fewer reps, and increase the intensity gradually over time as your body adjusts.
You should also give yourself a day or two of rest in between workouts to allow your body to recover. Rushing into things will only lead to injuries, discouragement, burnout, and, ultimately, quitting your workout routine altogether.
Don’t Repeat the Same Workouts Over and Over
You probably have some exercise patterns that you like doing and some that you don’t. But you should be careful not to fall into the trap of only doing the workouts you like and avoiding the ones you don’t.
You need a variety of different exercises to work all the different muscle groups in your body. Repeating the same workout pattern daily can also diminish your body’s ability to restore itself after exercise, leading to poorer performance and an increased risk for injuries.
Don’t Ignore Your Diet
Whatever your goals are for your exercise program, what you eat plays a big role in your success.
Don’t use good exercise as an excuse to eat whatever you want, treating yourself to an unhealthy “reward” after a vigorous workout. This will only sabotage your efforts and likely leave you feeling worse in the long run, not better.
Instead, focus on eating a healthful diet that will give you the nutrition and energy you need to get through the workout and help your body recover and repair itself afterward.
Compete Against Yourself
Constantly comparing yourself to others—whether in terms of appearance, performance, or anything else—is a recipe for discouragement and dissatisfaction.
Everybody is different, so it’s important to find an exercise routine that works for you and focus on your own progress, not anyone else’s.
Use your own performance as a benchmark to track your progress and set new goals for yourself. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your own fitness journey rather than getting caught up in what everyone else is doing.
The only person you should be competing against is yourself.