From skipping warm-ups and cool-downs to not resting: Some common workout mistakes you must avoid
Strictly following the pre-workout and post-workout rules can not only help you avoid gym injuries, but also save you from feeling sore after gymming
While regular exercise is necessary to stay in shape, improve your muscle strength and endurance, it’s equally vital to keep the rules of exercise in mind. According to a study in the EPMA Journal published in 2011, all adults should do at least two-and-a-half hours’ worth of moderate-intensity exercise every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week.
However, there are a number of things you should and shouldn’t do before exercising and soon after it. Maintaining these rules can help avoid injuries and other side effects.
Mistakes you make before a workout
The following are some of the things you must never do before exercising.
1. Not sleeping: Rest and exercise go hand in hand, and you can’t do one without the other. So, getting a good night’s sleep or a power nap before you hit the gym is of the utmost importance.
2. Not eating: Exercising on an empty stomach is a bad idea because you need energy to burn, and if you don’t have it, you’re likely to feel sore, weak and more exhausted. Try eating oats, dry fruits and nuts and whole grains, etc, before your workout and stay away from overeating and junk foods.
3. Not hydrating: When you exercise, you sweat and that can be dehydrating — so you need sufficient water to replenish your system. But this doesn’t mean that you guzzle a few litres of water right before your workout. Hydrate consistently throughout the day.
4. Not warming up: Static stretching where you stay in one position and move your limbs is not recommended, but dynamic stretching should definitely be a part of your pre-workout routine. Dynamic stretching is a form of exercise in itself and is less likely to injure or strain your cold muscles.
5. Not wearing the right gear: Exercise requires proper clothing and gear, and you can’t do without it. The right shoes are as important as the right pants and sports bra. Paying attention to the fabric is also important because it needs to be permeable to soak your sweat instead of irritating your skin further.
Mistakes you make after a workout
The period after your workout is crucial because your body requires rest and refuelling. You may feel like collapsing on your couch after a shower, eating and sleeping off, but should you? The following are a few things you must never do after a workout.
1. Not cooling down: Your whole body is active during exercise and if you go cold turkey suddenly after it, you’re more likely to have muscle stiffness and pain. Dialling it back slowly through static stretching is recommended before you leave the workout area.
2. Not eating well: A pre-workout snack need not be heavy at all, but a post-workout meal should be selected with more care. You need a good amount of protein, carbs and water to replenish your depleted energy reserves. But make sure you don’t binge on fatty or fried foods thinking it’s okay to indulge after a workout.
3. Not cleaning up: It’s very important to towel down any equipment you’ve used because you sweat on it, and that can make it unsafe and unhygienic for the next person. Hanging out in your workout clothes after you’re done might make you smell bad and be the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. So, cleaning up is very important.
4. Not taking a cold shower: When it comes to post-workout routines, a cold shower comes highly recommended because it helps reduce muscle soreness and activates the body’s metabolism further. A cold shower is also recommended for the purpose of cleaning up properly.
5. Not logging: Keeping a track of your workout is very important and you should do it soon after you finish your daily routine. This can help you stay motivated, set new goals and evaluate your own fitness levels after every workout.
For more information, read our article on Workout injuries.
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