You know who you are. You crave those long morning runs on the treadmill. You love sweating it out during Healthy Fit Spin classes. You preach the the benefits interval training on the elliptical. We get it, you can’t get enough Cardio!
As you probably already know, cardiovascular workouts are incredibly beneficial for your health. They improve heart function, muscle mass, and blood cholesterol. All of this, while reducing your risk for heart disease and osteoporosis.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout though, check out this list!
10 Mistakes Every Cardio Lover Can Make
- Stretching Before a Workout. What?! We know so many of you are asking this right now. Hear us out. Stretching cold muscles before a workout can actually cause you to pull something. Save it for after the workout instead.
- Skipping a Warm-Up. Sometimes you have so much energy, you just want to jump right into that run. Well, you may run those cold muscles right into an injury. Instead, we encourage you to do an easy warm-up. They call it a warm-up because it’s meant to warm up your muscles and joints, while gradually increasing your heart rate. Try: jumping rope, walking on an incline, making your way up and down the stairs a few times, or even jumping jacks.
- Walking with Weights. We have no idea why there are so many fitness photos out there of walkers powering their way through a brisk noon-time workout carrying weights. Here’s the deal, carrying weights while walking can actually put unneeded strain on your joints. This goes for ankle weights too. Save the weights for your strength workouts and instead work on increasing your speed or resistance for extra calorie burn.
- Leaning on the Spin Bike or Holding the Treadmill’s Handles. It’s tempting, we know. The handles are right there. Your legs are tired. But don’t do it! If you’re on the treadmill and you need to use the handles for balance or to find your footing, that’s OK, but once you do, hands off. If you’re having trouble keeping up with the pace, decrease it and keep your arms pumping. And Spinners, you’re not off the hook here. When the instructor says it’s time to stand and peddle, don’t lean against the bike too much, this will decrease your intensity and burn less calories. Make sure you’re keeping your weight in your legs.
- Not Drinking Water. Sometimes your workout is going great and you don’t want to screw up your pace or lose your stride. For some of you, that means not stopping for anything, not even water. If you’re thirsty, your body is telling you something, you need water. In general, we’d recommend between 4oz and 8oz of water for every 15-20 minutes of vigorous exercise, keeping in mind that every body is different.
- Doing the Same Thing Every Day. If you’re doing the same exercise every time you come to the gym, you’re working the same muscles over and over again, and ignoring the others. This can put you at risk for an imbalance, risk of overuse and pain. You’ll get much better results mixing it up with cross training. Plus, you won’t get bored. Check out some of our classes here for ideas, or look into training with one of our personal trainers to get you set up a plan.
- Exercising Using in the Same Old Sneakers. Your smelly, worn out sneakers are NOT your best friend. Over time, your shoes will lose proper support, shock, and fit. Make sure you’re replacing them every 300 to 500 miles, or anytime they start to feel uncomfortable. Otherwise you risk joint pain and injury.
- Using Weights at a Rapid Pace. Lifting heaving weights at a fast pace should build strength and increase your cardio endurance at the same time right? Kill two birds with one stone? WRONG. This is a recipe for injury. When it comes to using weights, think control with proper form. If you want to build strength while doing something more aerobic, think more about full bodyweight workouts, such as the ones you’ll find in our Bootcamp classes on Tuesdays at 8PM.
- Resisting Resistance. Not running or walking on an incline? Not amping up the resistance on the Spin bike? Well then you’re also losing your opportunity to get a better, bigger calorie burning, workout. Challenge yourself.
- Zoning Out. We’ve heard it time and time again, you love to run or hit the elliptical to forget about your stressful day and clear your head. For some, that also means catching up on your book, or television while using equipment. It’s OK to to use this time to clear your head. However, keep in mind if you zone out too much, you could being losing proper form and posture. Also, if you’re trying to read a book or magazine, you may not be getting the best workout possible or achieving your fitness potential because you’re working at a slower pace to read. If this is the case, perhaps consider downloading a few audio books, and kick up the speed!