Top 5 Worst Exercise Habits

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, June 8, 2011

I work with clients to establish safe and smart diet and exercise regimens. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of incorrect information out there! Here are the top 5 exercise faux pas I commonly come across.

1.) Same Old, Same Old
Many people tend to settle in to the same exercises day after day. Routines that were once a challenge become easier as you gain strength and endurance. This can also lead to injuries from overworked muscles and weakening in ones that aren’t getting enough attention. Mix things up to keep your muscles strong and endurance peaked.

2.) Going Through the Motions

I always see folks at the gym that spend more time chatting it up than working it out. Others just mindlessly run through a series of machines without paying any attention on how to properly use them (the directions are right there on the equipment). If you aren’t breaking a sweat, you probably aren’t working hard enough.

3.) Over Committing

When considering starting an exercise regimen, too much too soon can lead to mental overload and physical injury. Don’t expect to go from never exercising to working out 7 days a week. Set realistic goals and work your way up – you’ll be much more likely to stick to it.

4.) Heating Things Up

I still hear ridiculous stories about plastic suits and people spending hours in saunas fully dressed in order to shed extra  pounds. Not only is this ineffective, it can lead to serious health problems like dehydration and heat illness which can be life threatening. Always wear breathable loose clothing when exercising and stay hydrated to allow your body’s natural cooling mechanisms to do their job.

More tips on how to stay hydrated

5.) Go, Go Gadgets
Those commercials sure are appealing but weights that shake, electrodes that zap your abs and sneakers that promise to give you a better butt aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Not only are they a waste of money, some might leave you with nothing but a trip to the orthopedic surgeon. Just like there’s no magic pill for a better diet there are no magic gadgets to do the exercise for you. Get moving and consult with a qualified personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach to find out what type of equipment is right for you.

TELL US: Are you guilty of any of these exercise no-nos?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (62)

  1. B Rowe says:

    I also find going to the Y to exercise is best for me. I'm not disciplined enough to do at home, in fact I have a friend that attends the same yoga class. After the yoga class, I ride the stationary bike and use the machines and do pay attention to what I'm doing.

    The Y is a great place to exercise

  2. Lloyd says:

    I used to work at a gym in San Antonio, TX, and this article is dead on. So many people are there to socialize and don't really work out at all, the money that they pay for membership is outrageous. Stop chatting, and get to work and exercise, your body will thank you in the end.

    • laura says:

      Yes, too much chatting won't get your work out in, but many people like the social aspect of the gym – you tend to meet people with like interests. Just have to have a balance

  3. Wanda B. says:

    I personally find that going to the gym is better for me than trying to work out at home. My husband and I are usually there by 3:30am – every one else that is there are like us – they work and are serious about exercising. Some socializing going but usually just to say hi and make sure everyone is doing well.

    • Laura M says:

      I used to go very early to the gym to (5:00 am). Only serious people tend to go that early so it was kind of like our own "breakfast Club". We said "hi" to each other but didn't waste time chatting. Also, if someone didn't show up one morning, we would ask them the next day where they were to make sure they knew they were missed. It kept all of us motivated to go because we knew someone was watching.

  4. Agreed. (Megan) Something that bodybuilders and athletes have known for a long time. Keep your food intake clean, timely and eat enough to support the rebuilding and recovery.

  5. Christina says:

    I am a senior citizen, and have a change of exercises each day which only it fun, but a challenge. I cannot afford a gym, so I bike 3 miles on Mondays – Wednesday – Friday. I do my Dance2 Wii twice a week, on the 6th day I do my DVD Walk 2 miles. It is not boring, but fun for someone my age.

  6. Dean Osterling says:

    Senior citizen alert: If your gym has a program called Silver Sneakers, your insurance MAY pay your gym membership. We have Anthem Freedom Blue (a Medicare advantage program), and since signing up for Silver Sneakers, our long-term gym fees are now covered by insurance. Not only that, but we have privileges at any gym in the country that has Silver Sneakers. Definitely worth investigating.

  7. Zoey says:

    Unrelated comment to this blog post (there should be a place to post inquiries/suggestions for future blog posts!!!), but I was wondering about 2 things.
    1) does wiping off pizza grease really help that much?
    2) What is the layer that forms on top of milk when heated and is it healthier to leave it there or throw it away?

  8. Cynthia says:

    I have been guilty of doing the same exercise over and over. I am a creature of habit. But I have gotten better at adding intervals to make it more interesting or trying a new DVD I haven't ever done before. I will also refrain from doing the same strength training over and over. I switch up the exercises every few weeks and I continuusly change how much weight and how many reps I am doing.

    I do know a person who bought a "sweat suit" to wear when she works out. Apparently she thinks that if you sweat more, you will lose more weight. But I think that's only if sweating is paired with vigurous activity.

  9. Chantelle says:

    For over two years I have been taking a zumba class 2-3 days a week and I love it. If you're someone who likes salsa, hip hop and everything in between consider finding a zumba class in your area. The class also incorporates strength training into the routines. You will definitely break a sweat and their won't be any time for chatting in between routines. Zumba is also great because you get to work out and listen to great music. What more could you ask for.

  10. satish says:

    I have noticed that some people stop exercising and then overcommit for a week before they start again. Part of the challenge for them is balancing work life with exercise. So when they are not as busy as work, they work out a lot and stop working out when you are busy. Instead they should be focusing on consistent work-out every week even if it is just 30 minutes to hour a day.
    I may be guilty of the same exercise every day. I need to vary it up a little bit with the help of a fitness trainer.

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