We are all looking for ways to improve our health. And we want the simplest and fastest way to get the results we crave. Whether it is simply to look better and more fit, to have more energy, be able to do more with less pain and fatigue, or to prevent acute and chronic injuries.
It is great if you are following some sort of routine to improve or maintain your fitness. But there are three things you may be doing wrong, that will not only compromise your goals of looking and feeling better, but also leave you at a much higher risk for injury.
As you’ll see, it is pretty well impossible to be doing all 3 things wrong, but the vast majority have at least one, and some will have two mistakes in their workout routines. A simple re-jig is all we need to balance this out, and continue on your way to optimal health and performance.
Top 3 Workout Mistakes:
1. Excessive cardio
2. Excessive yoga
3. Excessive strength and weight training.
The paradox here is when we find something we actually enjoy and feel good about, it is hard to not want to do more of that. Human nature is to do more of what we like and are good at, even if it may not be as healthy as we would like to believe.
Unfortunately, to be healthy and fit in all realms, we have to balance out all forms of fitness and movement.
It is easy to pick out the marathoner/triathlete who spends 15+hours a week running, biking, swimming or other form of long duration cardio. But how many of these people can do a pull-up, proper push-up, or squat with perfect hip mechanics?
There are many muscle-built gym enthusiasts who look impressive with lots of bulging muscles, but couldn’t bend and touch their knees, or who get out of breath climbing 2 flights of stairs.
I see on a weekly basis yoga masters who are extremely flexible, and can bend and distort their bodies in a variety of ways, yet are frequently hurting their backs due to a lack of strength and stability that doesn’t protect them from their hyper flexibility.
Bottomline: a mix of everything is what makes us fit and functional!
We should be getting in at least 2 cardio/aerobic sessions per week, and it doesn’t matter if it is running, cycling, rowing or on a cardio machine. (But outdoors is better than inside on a machine for a variety of reasons.) Ideally one long (more than 45 minutes, but working up to 90 minutes), and one short but more of a speed/interval session (i.e. 1 minute at a fast pace, followed by a minute of very slow recovery pace).
At least 2 strength sessions per week, where we are lifting heavy weights or using our body weight for reps that fatigue us at no more than 12 repetitions. This is important to maintain muscle mass, improve bone density, boost our metabolism, and perhaps most importantly, keep us less likely to be injured with everyday movements.
Everyday, a little bit of yoga or a regular stretching regime. I said little, as it is much better to do 15 minutes of mobility, yoga and stretching everyday, than to do 1 hour of yoga once a week. We need to move the body through it’s full range everyday to maintain its function, and keep our joints working properly. Again, we see a lot of people who get hurt doing too much yoga, especially if they don’t create the core and muscular strength to go along with all that extreme movement.
This usually means doing a little less of what you like, and more of the things you know you should be doing, but are avoiding. Yes, those big muscle-bound weight-lifters have to get in on some yoga. The long-distance runner has to get herself under a barbell or kettle bell. And the yoga enthusiast, well, they can stay relaxed and breathe well, but also do some more strengthening. A good mix for the yoga guru is trying some pilates twice a week.
As we get older, remaining injury-free is paramount to remaining fit and active.
A balanced approach to fitness is what will keep you in the game longer, preventing weaknesses and injuries from imbalances and over-use. If you have questions about your particular fitness regime, let us know, and we’ll be happy to help!