Look, if you’re exercising at all, you get two thumbs-up from me. I would give you three thumbs-up if I could – because I know how hard it is to get off the couch and go to the gym/go for a run/drag yourself to boot camp/do whatever it is that you’re doing.
But I have some bad news… In that you might have developed some bad habits along the way. Bad exercise habits that are probably hindering your efforts and ensuring that you don’t progress as quickly as you might hope.
Here are 5 of the not-so-great exercise habits that people tend to develop, and why you should get rid of them.
1. Doing the same workout over and over again
It’s so very easy to get to the gym and do the same routine that a personal trainer put together for you one time: 15 minutes on the elliptical, 20 minutes on the treadmill, 10 on the stationary bike, some free weights, one of the leg machines… You don’t have to think about it and you know it’s a decent workout. And you know how to work all the machines, so there’s absolutely no potential for embarrassment in front of all the other fitness fanatics.
I have sad news for you, my routine-loving friend. Gym routines are bad for you if you do them over and over again. In fact, it’s not so great if you only stick to one kind of exercise, regardless of what it is – running or paddle-boarding or martial arts or whatever.
This is largely because you’re working out the same muscles, over and over. Your muscles get used to it. And as a result, you’re no longer getting fitter – you’re just working out the same old, bored muscles, over and over again. Additionally, you’re more likely to injure yourself, which really isn’t helpful for anyone.
By mixing up your workout routine, regardless of what it is, you’re more likely to get a better all-body workout and – bonus – far less likely to get bored of the same old deal. Sign up for something awesome that you’ve never heard of – Pound, or Barre Body, or Paddleboard Yoga – or sign up for a special event and try doing some cross-training for it. It’ll be fun. Promise.
2. Not bothering with weight training and just focusing on cardio
I know it can be scary over there. I KNOW. Lots of complicated-looking machines and lots of intimidating-looking men standing protectively over said machines. I avoided the weights section for many years, just because I was terrified of making an idiot of myself in front of the kind of people who could work the weight machines in their sleep.
But weight training is so good. So good. If you’re not incorporating some weights into your workout routine, you’re doing yourself and your fitness a serious disservice.