health and wellness

Adding a proper warmup to your exercise routine helps get your muscles and cardiovascular system ready for a good workout.

Whether you are a gym rat or trying to see your biceps for the first time, exercise should be a part of your daily routine.

Aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening activities are crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but only 22.5 percent of Utahns met federal guidelines for these exercises in 2014.

Any day is a good time to get started on increasing your physical activity. While any exercise is better than none, it is easy to make some mistakes that can keep you from getting the most benefit from your workout.

Don’t let these five common exercise mistakes ruin a good workout routine for you.

Using bad form

Just getting yourself to the gym to exercise is an accomplishment, but if you do it the wrong way, you might be wasting your efforts. You know that doing 50 pushups with your body shaped like a pyramid isn’t nearly as good as doing them with a straight back with your hands placed correctly. Likewise, use the correct form for other bodyweight exercises like squats, planks, lunges and so forth. And if you don’t know how to use a particular machine at the gym, scrounge up the courage to ask someone so you can get the most benefit from your workout and avoid injury.

Letting health conditions interrupt exercise

Some health conditions may seem like they would get in the way of exercising, like pregnancy or arthritis. The truth is, exercise can often improve these health conditions. Instead of abandoning your workout plans, talk to your doctor about how to adapt them to fit your new circumstances.

For pregnant women, exercise is often recommended and can help promote a healthy pregnancy. Arthritis sufferers might find some workouts painful, but there are many exercises that can be performed without putting too much stress on the joints. The right workout can help improve arthritis, and maintaining a healthy weight keeps pressure off your joints as well.

“People of every fitness level and ability can exercise safely,” says Deanna Litao, director of rehabilitation at English Oaks Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “If you have physical limitations, stick to low-impact strength training and aerobic exercises like walking or swimming to stay fit.”

Focusing on cardio and leaving out the weights

The key to a good workout plan is variety. It’s great to find an exercise you enjoy, but make sure to change it up once in a while to work your whole body. Both aerobic exercise and weight training are important for your health. Weights can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your balance, and strengthen your bones and muscles. Adults should make a workout plan that includes 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise and at least two days a week of muscle strengthening exercises.

Forgetting to pair diet with exercise

Some people hate to exercise, while others don’t mind the workout but don’t want to give up their favorite foods. If you want to have a healthy lifestyle, you can’t pick and choose a good diet or a solid workout. The best way to lose weight is to exercise and eat well. Not only will this combination be the most effective if you want to lose a few pounds, but you might have an easier time sticking with it.

Skipping the warmup

A warmup isn’t just a good excuse to wear awesome tear-away pants. Adding a proper warmup to your exercise routine helps get your muscles and cardiovascular system ready for a good workout. While you are at it, don’t forget to cool down either. A cooldown at the end of a workout helps your muscles and heart gradually slow down and can help you avoid injury. Take the time to slow your heart down and stretch your muscles out and you will have an easier time convincing your body to exercise next time.

These mistakes can make your workout less effective or even stop you from exercising in the first place. Now that you know what to avoid and how to get started with your workout, don’t let anything stop you from getting the exercise you need.

Dr. Amy Osmond Cook is a health care technology consultant and VP of marketing at Simplus, a Platinum Salesforce Partner.

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