Health & Wellness

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Common workout mistakes

Those already a few months into their New Year's resolution to get fit may find that all the effort at the gym is not paying off as they had expected. Although exercise results vary, certain behaviors could impact just how much weight a person can lose and how efficient their workouts may be.

For those who want to increase the measurable results of their workouts, try to avoid these common mistakes.

* Not giving it enough time. Many people want to see immediate results when they begin a new exercise regimen. While such instant gratification is possible, it's foolish to expect to wake up and look in the mirror after a week's time and see a complete body transformation. Many health experts say a safe weight loss goal is one to two pounds each week. For each pound of fat to burn, you need to shed 3,500 calories weekly. Do this by exercising and reducing caloric intake. Don't give up prematurely. After a few months  your clothes may fit better and you can see a change in muscle tone and overall fitness.

* Sticking with the same routine. Routines can make it easier to manage everyday life. For example, waking up and going to bed at the same time each day helps many people maintain the energy they need to live life to the fullest. But routine is not always a friend with regard to exercise. When you do the same exercise routine over and over, your body becomes acclimated to that routine and your muscles recognize the motion. As a result, your body doesn't have to work as hard to do the workout. Altering your routine means you're essentially keeping your body on its proverbial toes. This will help you to burn more calories and even prevent you from getting bored with your workout.

* Skipping strength training. Cardiovascular activities like running on the treadmill can certainly burn calories, but cardiovascular exercise alone is not enough to achieve optimal health. Strength training helps build lean muscle and strengthen bones, so it's important to make both cardiovascular and strength-training exercises a part of your workout routine.

* Maintaining a moderate pace. Much like doing the same exercises over and over, sticking to the same pace will lull your body into complacency. Vary the pace of your workout so that you move through intense, moderate and slow movements. Higher-intensity parts of the workout will get your heart pumping and burn calories.

* Making unnatural body movements. Movements that mimic the body's natural movements will be more effective at toning muscles. These movements include bending, stepping, jumping, and running. Unnatural movements may not be practical, and they may increase your risk of injury.

* Working out alone. When you workout alone, you do not have the benefit of friendly competition to motivate you as you exercise. With no one to egg you on, you may be content to stick to a certain number of repetitions instead of trying a little harder. A partner can provide camaraderie and help you make the most of your exercise regimen.

* Ignoring possible injury. No one is immune to injury, which can result from lifting weights that are too heavy or using improper form. If you feel you are hurt, don't make things worse by ignoring an injury. The body needs time to recover from injury, and ignoring an injury can lead to additional problems that will only extend that recovery time.

Gadsden Times