Now that it’s February, it’s time to check in on those New Year’s resolutions! If you resolved to get more fit, you’ve designed a new workout program and you’re gradually increasing its complexity.
You’ve probably read a lot of advice on fitness, and you’re headed in the right direction. But do you know which pitfalls to avoid? As you advance in your exercise regimen, watch out for these four common beginner mistakes.
Watch your form. You might get in a hurry during your workout, and feel tempted to sling those weights around and get it over with. Or, maybe you never learned the correct form in the first place. Whatever the reason, if you aren’t exercising using proper alignment, your joints will be stressed in a way that they aren’t designed to withstand. This leads to injury, time off from your exercise routine, and in rare cases, chronic pain or the need for surgery.
Wear the right shoes. Choosing good, protective footwear is one of the easiest ways to prevent injury. Visit a reputable sporting goods store, discuss your fitness routine with an expert, and let him or her guide you toward the right type of shoe. Follow your gut instincts; if a shoe feels supportive and comfortable, it’s probably a good fit for your foot.
Don’t ignore pain. Sore muscles are a normal sign of an effective workout. But severe pain, especially during exercise itself, is not normal. It’s a sign that something is wrong, and ignoring it could result in a serious injury. Listen to your body’s cues, and slow down or stop working out if you feel any pain beyond mild discomfort.
Don’t overdo it. You should definitely add time or difficulty to your workouts as you get more fit. But remember to gradually increase your workouts, week by week, and avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. You’ll either risk injury, burn yourself out, or both. Rest days are important, too. Try two per week, to allow your body to recover from strain.
As always, consult with your physician before starting a strenuous workout regimen. You need to make sure you don’t have any underlying health conditions that could make exercise dangerous for you.