If you’re feeling gung-ho about getting in shape, we’re excited for you! But sometimes beginners can attack their new workout routine so enthusiastically that they end up injuring themselves. Since an injury will only sideline you and set you back, that’s the last thing you want. Remember that a steady pace of gradual improvement is better than sharp spikes and dips in your performance. Avoid these four common beginner exercise mistakes, and you will find yourself gradually making real progress toward your fitness goals.
Using poor form. Whether you’re running or lifting weights, make sure to keep your body properly aligned during exercise. Otherwise you place extra stress on joints that were not designed to be used that way, and injury is the common result. If a movement feels awkward or “not right”, check with a trainer to make sure you’re doing it correctly.
Wearing incorrect footwear. The right shoes won’t completely prevent all injuries, but they do ward off some common problems. Make sure your shoes offer the right amount of support to your arches and ankles. Seeking expert guidance at a sporting goods store can be helpful, but in most cases simply following your instincts and selecting shoes that feel comfortable will do the trick.
Overdoing it. You want to see progress, and you should definitely be adding mileage, weights, or time to your training schedule. However, if you push yourself too hard, such as doubling your mileage or refusing to take a rest day, you risk injuries and burnout. Remember to gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts, little by little, from one week to the next.
Forgetting to listen to your body. You’ve heard the expression, “no pain, no gain” all your life, so you assume that pain is a normal part of a workout regimen. To be clear, a little bit of soreness or discomfort is normal; pain is not! Pain is your body’s way of saying “slow down; you’re about to injure yourself”. So when you feel pain, pay attention to it. You might need to take a rest day, correct your form, or even visit your doctor.
Along with these above tips, remember to always consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. Come in and see us, and we can offer expert nutrition advice and check you for underlying conditions that could make exercise dangerous for you.