We may not realize it now but small mistakes while working out can do great harm to our body in the long run. Experts say that most injuries occur either because of people’s negligence or hesitance to ask for help. And also because small injuries like a pulled muscle or a sprain are often overlooked they can lead to bigger problems over time. But preventing workout mistakes and hence injuries is actually really simple, says Kumar Thapa, fitness instructor at Fitness Park Gym in Sundhara, Kathmandu. Here he outlines some common mistakes that we must avoid at all costs while getting our much-needed daily dose of exercise.
One of the biggest mistakes most of us make while exercising is skipping warm-up. According to Thapa, warming your body up before getting into cardio or any kind of intense exercise is extremely important. This helps to prepare your body for an intense exercise by improving muscle elasticity, flexing your joints, and increasing blood flow.
“Before starting with your exercises, it is important that you run or walk slowly first and then pick up your pace,” says Thapa. “This can prevent injuries such as muscle strains, pulls and joint paints,” he adds explaining that skipping a warm-up session because you want to finish off your exercise session quickly can have grave repercussions.
Improper form for core exercises
While doing exercises like crunches and sit-ups, it is important that you keep several things in mind. One of the most common mistakes that people make is not keeping their neck in spinal alignment.
“Many often hurt their neck while trying to do crunches because they put their neck in an extended position or try to see the mirror in front of them. This puts pressure on their cervical spine and can even lead to pinched nerves and spinal disk issues,” says Thapa. According to him, the correct way to do crunches is to curl up in front while feeling the pressure on your core muscles rather than on your neck. “Make sure you are lifting your body from your core muscles and not using your neck muscles for it,” he explains.
Working out barefoot
Exercising without any footwear on may sometimes feel great and liberating. However, barefoot training should be avoided especially when you are not under expert supervision. Exercising barefoot can cause injuries to your knee, foot, and heel. Also, according to trainer Thapa, the strength of your ankles and the flexibility of your muscles can also result in injuries. So it is advisable to wear good shoes while working out. Also avoid running barefoot as it may cause inflammation under the heels and even lead to infection due to lack of protection.
Working out too frequently and for too long
According to Thapa, while working out, ‘more’ is not always ‘better’. Recovery period is extremely important especially if you are doing high intensity workouts. So it is imperative that you give your body some rest and not test your endurance level too much.
Working out too often and for too long can leave you feeling lethargic instead of energized. Also, if your body does not have time to recover, you might get sick easily and feel heavy on your legs. It can also hurt your muscles and joints and cause pain on the soles of your feet. “Not taking rest days can break your body down and prevent muscles from repairing themselves impacting your joints, muscles, and hormones,” says Thapa advising everyone to take at least one day off every week.
Jump rope injuries
Jumping on hard surfaces while working out can cause knee and feet injuries. This is because a hard floor does not absorb the shock when you land after a jump. So it is advisable to skip on a wooden floor or on your lawn instead of concrete cemented areas. Also make sure that you wear good shoes that can absorb shock.
Also, your arms must not make large circles while skipping. This can cause arm injuries. Try skipping while only rotating your wrist. And finally, the rope that you use should come to your armpit or chest level. If your rope is too long, you may spoil your form and posture while jumping.
But, on the other hand, short ropes can be highly dangerous as well. “You run the risk of tripping on the rope injuring different parts of your body,” says Thapa.
Not balancing your spine
While exercising, there are many movements that flex your spine forward. But many tend to forget to bend their spine backward while exercising. Adding exercises that help you bend your spine backwards into your workout routine is extremely important. This helps you prevent many spine and disc related injuries.
Also, if you perform a lot of bending forward exercises throughout the day. There is no harm in doubling these back bend exercises.
Neglecting core exercises
The core in our body is not just the abdominals but it also includes hips, spine, and essentially the center of your body. Your core plays an important role in supporting the vital organs of your body and helps in improving your internal health. So it is important that you build your core strength slowly so that it supports your entire workout procedure and prevents any kind of workout injuries as well.