can't use- Seattle Times

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 10:07 p.m.
By MOLLY MARTIN The Seattle Times When I was little, I developed a habit of dragging the toes of my saddle shoes when I walked to school. Its effect was fairly immediate, in both the scuffed state of the shoes and the irritated state of my mother.
Other habits may take longer to show their results, including some of the things we do while exercising. A survey of 3,000 certified fitness professionals by the American Council on Exercise yielded this list of the most common mistakes people make in the gym:
1. Not stretching enough - especially after aerobic activity while muscles are warm and pliable - to prevent injuries.
2. Lifting more weight than you can handle safely and with good form.
3. Not warming up before an activity. 4. Not cooling down after a workout. 5. Exercising too intensely for a short time, rather than more moderately for longer periods.
6. Not drinking enough water. 7. On a stair machine, turning the intensity so high that you need to lean on the handrails, which is hard on your wrists and back.
8. Not exercising intensely enough to work up a light sweat and get your heart beating in your training zone.
9. Jerking while lifting weights, which can lead to strain and injury.
10. Consuming high-calorie energy bars and sports drinks during moderate workouts. Unless you're exercising more than two hours per day, ACE says, you don't need them.
Trainers also see their share of deleterious habits. Here are a few:
  • "Men very often swing their bodies while doing barbell curls. It enables them to use more weight, but it really doesn't help the biceps. This swinging, however, can cause lower-back problems."
  • Not replacing old athletic shoes. "The mid-sole or supportive part of the shoe gradually gets compressed over months of use. You can help prevent muscle and joint-overuse pain or injuries by replacing your shoes every six to 12 months."
  • "Keeping the same routine for months rather than changing things around every month or so. Never addressing eating changes that should take place and then assuming it is your workout that is ineffective. Hiring personal trainers and expecting them to keep you motivated. Blaming your busy life for your inconsistency."
  • "When returning to working out after an absence, starting in at the same level, rather than decreasing intensity and working back up to previous levels. Doing high-weight/low-rep lifting when muscular endurance is the goal." For older adults: Not incorporating some type of balance activity along with aerobic, strength and flexibility training.
  • "Moving too quickly, not concentrating on the muscle group you are working. Talking too much and getting a poor workout."
  • "Becoming obsessive about the amount of minutes you put into the workout rather than focusing on forming a positive, healthy habit that can be life-long. Using any drug or supplement that isn't healthy to stay on permanently."
  • "Wanting goals met much sooner than is realistic. Exercising sporadically, leading to overtraining in short durations, possibly causing injuries and burnout."
  • "It is very difficult for some students to actually focus on their own bodies.
    These students spend so much time looking at others that they do not focus on their own body's needs and thus waste their precious workout time."
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