Fitness Articles

Common Fitness Blunders - Part 1

Even Experienced Exercisers Can Be Guilty of These

Both beginners and experienced exercises can be guilty of a few fitness blunders from time to time. Some may even become a regular part of your fitness routine, much like a bad habit. But, to get the best results from all your hard work, it’s important that you don’t find yourself creating a fitness routine filled with mistakes. This can set you up for injury, lack of results, boredom and plateaus. Analyze your fitness routine on a regular basis and ask yourself if you fall into any of these common blunders.

Blunder #1: Skipping the Warm Up, Cool Down, and Stretches

This is one of the most common bad habits of exercisers! You finally committed yourself to a fitness routine, and you don’t want to waste any time, so you jump right into your work out without warming up, cooling down, or stretching. After all, those low-intensity segments are meaningless and a waste of time, right?

NOT TRUE! Warming up, cooling down and stretching should be the foundation of your exercise program. They should be viewed as a transition into (and out of) exercise, allowing your body and mind to prepare for running, jumping, or strength training. Here is what you gain from proper warm-up, cool downs and stretching sessions:
  • Your muscles and connective tissue loosen to prepare for the stress of exercise
  • Oxygen and blood flow to your muscles and connective tissue increases, providing fuel for better muscular performance
  • Tension in your body decreases
  • Breathing patterns establish, helping relax the body during exercise
  • Joints are lubricated to allow for better performance
  • Muscle soreness is prevented and/or reduced during and after your workout
  • Better body awareness
  • Quicker reaction time
  • Improved posture
  • Improved coordination
  • Quicker recovery
  • Decreased muscle soreness
You’ve probably exercised without warming up properly, for example, and maybe nothing horrible happened. It may seem unnecessary, but consistently skipping it will limit your gains and put you at risk for injury. You could even be injured without even knowing it since you may not feel any pain right away.

Fix it Tip: Try to warm up with a low impact exercise for 5-10 minutes. A light sweat is a good indicator of your body temperature rising. Follow your workout with 5-10 minutes light exercise to cool down, and stretching, head to toe. Most of your flexibility benefits will come from your post-exercise stretch because your muscles will be so warm. To learn more about the differences between these workout components, read our Reference Guides to Warming Up, Cooling Down and Stretching.
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About The Author

Joe Downie Joe Downie
Joe, an exercise enthusiast, is a certified physical fitness instructor and high school soccer coach.

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