Common Exercise Mistakes

It's easy to make mistakes when you exercise. Often it's because we haven't been trained in the proper techniques, and occasionally it's because we just don't pay close enough attention to what we are doing. In either case, mistakes in exercise can be counter-productive to your goals and harmful to your body.

The most common mistake when exercising is not stretching. You should stretch your muscles before, during and after any physical activity -- whether you're running a marathon or simply walking your dog. Proper stretching prevents muscle strains, tearing and soreness.

If you lift weights, it's crucial to lift within the limits of your current strength. If you lift too much, you run the risk of serious injury; if you lift too little, your training is ineffective -- either is a mistake. Whenever possible consult a trainer about how to determine the correct amount of weight for your size, strength and goals. Your trainer can also help you develop a plan for increasing the weights in your regime to tone muscles and build strength.

One of the other common errors made with an exercise program is not drinking enough water. On a normal day, you should be drinking a minimum of 64 oz. of water. On days that you exercise, you should drink even more than that to rehydrate your body. It's also important to drink water immediately after your exercise and stretching routine to help prevent muscle cramping.

Other areas to watch during physical activity include pacing yourself and safety. Remember that even the best athletes didn't become so overnight. It takes determination, endurance and patience. Enjoy exercise, but do it safely. And remember, physical fitness is a journey -- not a destination.

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