When you’re following an exercise regimen or weight loss plan, you might find yourself dreading your exercise sessions. This can happen for many reasons, but we sometimes find that patients have fallen into the habit of acting as their own “drill sergeant”. In other words, you’ve gotten the impression that workouts should be grueling and even painful, and you’ve internalized those messages. Now you push yourself to the point of discomfort, or perhaps you’re even working out incorrectly. The end result is that you enjoy exercise less and less… And that’s not the result we want at all.
So, if you’ve internalized any of these exercise slogans, rethink your mindset.
“No pain, no gain”. A good workout can feel challenging or difficult, and you might experience some soreness afterward. But if you’re feeling actual pain during exercise, that can be a sign that you’re pushing your body too hard. Listen to those cues and slow down, so that you don’t risk injury.
“Burn calories for the weekend”. On Friday, you might feel tempted to work out even harder than usual, in preparation for “the weekend”. In some cases challenging yourself to a more difficult workout can be a good thing, but not if you’ve decided the workout is an even exchange for a binge on Saturday and Sunday. Sure, you might burn an extra hundred calories (or even a bit more) but one tough workout can’t realistically compensate for two days of binge-eating. In this case, it’s not the workout that harms you, but an unrealistic mindset toward a “trade-off” that will only undermine your weight loss plan.
“Engage your core” or “draw your bellybutton to your spine”. These messages are confusing and often result in working out incorrectly. What people mean by these statements is to activate your core, or focus on using your abdominal muscles. If you’re simply sucking in your stomach, you won’t perform the moves correctly.
“Keep your head up”. This rule is meant to encourage you to look straight ahead during exercise. Unfortunately, it often results in people looking slightly upward, and arching their neck unnecessarily (which can create strain). Instead, focus on alignment that feels natural and comfortable.
“Pick up the pace”. Sometimes, bursts of speed can help you increase your heart rate and burn more calories. This can be the case during a walk or jog, or during other forms of aerobic exercise. But if you’re pushing yourself at an uncomfortable speed, you might lose track of proper form. And that can be a recipe for injury.
So, do add bursts of speed to aerobic exercise routines, but only at a pace which allows you to maintain correct form. If you find yourself getting sloppy, you’re pushing too hard.
If you have any other questions about safe exercise or your weight loss plan, give us a call. We can help you put together a regimen that is both effective and safe for your level of fitness.