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Creating a lighter, healthier you is a multi-step process. One of the most important steps, and the main focus of this section, is exercise. Here we explore everything from the benefits of exercise to how much and how often it is necessary to promote weight loss.

How to Exercise the Right Way

How to Exercise the Right Way

Surprisingly, there are many people out there today who don’t know how to exercise the right way. In fact, there are some common mistakes that people make right away when they are first starting to explore the uncharted waters of fitness.

“When it comes to exercise, many people are more concerned with getting quick results, rather than establishing a proper routine,” says Dr. Sean Wells, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and the fitness expert at BistroMD. “There are common mistakes people make when it comes to learning how to exercise. These simple mistakes can be costly, as they can lead to injury, energy depletion and lack of motivation to progress.”

In order to help you learn how to exercise the right way, our fitness expert is reviewing the most common mistakes when it comes to working out. Learn how to avoid these common errors, and see why moderation is crucial to achieving successful results.

1. Lifting Too Heavy, Too Quickly

“One of the most common exercise mistakes is lifting weights that are too heavy, too quickly,” says Sean. “This is extremely dangerous, as it can cause serious injury.”

In order to achieve sculpted arms and a more tone physique, many people start lifting weights without putting much thought into it. They lack the education of proper form when it comes to lifting and strength-building techniques.

“Pacing yourself and having the proper form when lifting weights is crucial if you want to see results,” says Sean. “To get the best results, it’s important that you know the proper techniques, and that you are knowledgeable about preventing current injury.”

Common weight training injuries include:

1. Sprains

2. Strains

3. Tendinitis

4. Fractures

5. Dislocations

Using an improper training technique can also result in:

Rotator cuff damage

Muscle overload

Bone stress injuries

Nerve damage

“If you want to develop a proper strength training routine, it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable weight training specialist,” says Sean. “These professionals can help you practice and maintain proper technique.”

When it comes to weight training, it's also important that you are aware of these essential rules for safety.

Consult a physician—If you’re over 40, and inactive, you should consult with your doctor before starting a weight training program.

Set goals—Make sure that you have a purpose behind each exercise you do with weights.

“Weight training for toning muscle is much different than weight training for a specific sport or activity,” says Sean. “Each exercise you do with weights requires a unique approach, and they should be tailored to your overall needs.”

Breathe—Always make sure you breathe. Your blood pressure can reach dangerous levels if you don’t.

Embrace Balance—Work all of your major muscle groups, and strengthen opposing muscles in a balanced way. For example: Front of the shoulder, as well as the back of the shoulder.

Don’t Rush—Never jerk your weights up. Always lift and lower the weight in a slow, controlled fashion.

Don’t Do Too Many Sets—You only need to exercise until the point of reaching fatigue. This is all you need to obtain benefits. More repetitions aren’t necessary.

Lift an Appropriate Amount of Weight—After about 10 to 15 reps, the amount of weight you lift should make your muscles feel tired. Don't push your limit further than this.

REST!—Make sure you give your body about a day or two of recovery between workouts of the same muscle groups.

2. Too Much Cardio, Too Fast, Too Soon

If you are just learning how to exercise again after being out of the loop for a while, cardio can be beneficial; it all depends on your approach.

“Many people, especially women, choose to do cardio and end up doing too much, too soon,” says Sean. “If cardio is not progressed properly, it can lead to serious injury, as well as minimal results due to improper technique and training.”

Your body needs time to adjust to new changes, which is especially true if you are just starting to exercise again.

Pushing yourself too hard, too quickly, can hinder your progress more than improve it. Ideally, you should determine your goals, then gradually progress into a more intense cardio routine.

“Start out by walking at a gradual pace for at least 30 minutes each day,” says Sean. “Once you master this, you can gradually start running more, and intensifying your speed and distance over time.”

It’s also important to choose an activity that you can sustain for a longer period of time.

“Swimming is great cardio," says Sean. "It's easy on your body, and works all of your major muscle groups.”

Just keep in mind that successful cardio is all about progression. Forget about burning calories-- instead, focus on perfecting a few activities you enjoy. This will keep you motivated, and give you the most benefit from your workouts.

3. Participating Too Intensely in Certain Sports

Most of us would like to pretend to be our favorite athlete, but sometimes we can take pretend-time a little too seriously.

“If people want to play sports as part of their workout, they often make the mistake of jumping into an activity without being physically ready for it,” says Sean. “Playing sports is fine, you just need to make sure your body can physically handle the intensity.”

Evaluating your current condition is often crucial. If you are over the age of 40, and have joint problems, then you may want to use caution when you play basketball or tennis.

If there is a sport that you truly want to play, but don’t feel you are capable, then it is always best to get a professional opinion—either from a doctor, a physical therapist, or a certified athletic trainer.

“There are ways you can still play some of your favorite sports, even if certain health complications are holding you back,” says Sean. “People often forget that sports are also meant to be fun, and don’t have to be too strenuous and physically demanding for you to see results. If you have been physically inactive for years, and jump intensely into a sport, your body won’t be equipped to handle the sudden changes in intensity. It’s essential to master a basic exercise routine before you intensely start playing any kind of sport.”

If you need to learn how to exercise the right away, always be aware of these common mistakes and learn how to avoid them.

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