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Top 10 Fitness Mistakes

Whether your goal is to lose a few pounds, change a clothing size, gain muscle mass or improve overall health, exercise is a critical component of your plan. Once you know the steps to achieving your fitness goals, it's just as important to know what not to do. Avoid these common fitness mistakes that are sure to spoil your efforts.

1. Using cardio equipment improperly by hanging on to the equipment or slouching.
2. Losing focus instead of practicing mindful exercise and thinking about the muscles you're working until you can feel the resistance in those areas.
3. Thinking cardio is enough and skipping strength training exercises.
4. Failing to vary your routine by adding an extra workout per week, increasing your workout by 5-10 minutes, using interval training or adding an incline.
5. Believing you can eat anything if you exercise, even though one extra "treat" each day can more than make up for the calories burned in a workout.
6. Performing strength-training exercises improperly by failing to adjust the seat height and weight of the machines before you use them.
7. Setting unrealistic expectations. If you want results, you've got to do the work.
8. Rushing your reps, which raises blood pressure, increases your risk for joint injury and compromises your results.
9. Consuming sports drinks and energy bars during a moderate workout that lasts less than 60 minutes.
10. Burning yourself out. Motivation is a great thing, but starting off too strong can lead to quick burnout, soreness and eventually giving up.

Working out may seem like it should come naturally, but even the most experienced gym-goers have room to learn. We all make mistakes, but if you're spending the time and energy on a workout, you may as well reap the benefits.

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