Starting an Exercise Program? Avoid These 7 Mistakes.

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Hitting the gym in search of a healthier body this year? Starting an exercise routine provides many benefits. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as jumping on the treadmill and pushing start. Here are a few common mistakes made by new exercisers:

  • Not warming up. Your muscles need time to adjust to the new demands you will be putting on them with an exercise program. Start with a few minutes of light aerobic exercises before you go into your exercise routine.
  • Not cooling down. Don’t just finish your workout and hit the shower. Take a few minutes to do some easy, slow exercises to lower your heart rate and stretch your muscles.
  • Not stretching enough. You should stretch before and after any exercise activity. Tight muscles can result in injury. As mentioned above, take a few minutes to warm up first.
  • Doing too much too soon. Making up for lost time in the gym during your very first workout is a recipe for disaster. Be realistic about your starting level, and progress slowly from there.
  • Lifting too much weight. This is a common mistake with men. Begin with a weight you can handle and gradually increase the amount as your muscles adapt. Stay mentally motivated when exercising.
  • Avoiding weights. This is a common mistake with women. Weight training is the best-kept secret to burning fat. Not only do you boost metabolism while you’re working out, but you continue to elevate your body’s metabolism up to 48 hours after you finished working out. Add at least 30-minutes of weight training to your program three times a week. Learn more about women and weight training.
  • Not changing your diet. If one of your reasons for working out is weight loss, don’t expect to drop any weight without changing your diet, too. To lose weight, maintain a daily caloric deficit with both exercise and nutrition (for example, cutting 250 calories a day from your diet and burning up an extra 250 exercising can help you drop one pound per week).

Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.