There is no need for us to underscore the need of a fitness routine. Exercise is not essential to weight loss: you can do it solely through diet. But being slim is not the same as being fit. Cardiovascular exercise helps keep your heart and bones strong. Resistance or anaerobic training helps strengthen ad regenerate your muscles. Other kinds of exercise regimens like yoga aim to improve body flexibility and also help calm your mind. But even the gentlest of exercises can cause injuries when done wrong, and there are several ways to workout wrong. And these injuries can be debilitating and very painful. The higher the range of your motion, the more probable and more painful the injury is. For instance, shoulder injuries are some of the most common fitness injuries, and are highly painful and the recovery is slow. The aim of this blog is to give a generalised list of good fitness practices that can be applied to any kind of routine you follow.

Don’t overdo it


It can be tempting to workout a bit too much. Once you get past the inertia of long-term inactivity, the feeling of well-being that working out brings can be somewhat addictive. You could also think of exercise as a pleasant way to spend some calories so you eat a little bit more or lose weight faster.

It also can be tempting to workout too often. Rest days are essential, but you may feel like you’re missing out on the buzz or the calorie deficit.

This kind of thinking is not useful and often backfires as injuries because:
  • You should not be using exercise as a tool to lose weight. It is often said that losing weight is 80% diet, and 20% exercise. Many people manage to lose weight without ever exercising. The main problem with focusing on the weight-loss side of exercising is completely ignoring its actual benefits. Eat better to lose weight, and use exercise to actually get fitter and stronger. That way you’ll not lose sight of your priorities.
  • Think of what exercise does to your body. Exercise (especially weight training) strains your muscles by causing tiny injuries. These injuries are not harmful, but actually encourage your body to start a process of healing that in turn ends up strengthening your muscle. This healing or regeneration process needs time. If you do not give yourself a rest day once in a while, you’ll not let your body complete the regeneration. This will make you more prone to injuries. ‘

So don’t overdo it. Lose weight through calorie control and mindful eating: not exercise. It is recommended that you take at least one rest day a week. Some experts even recommend a rest every two days.

 Know your body

And know the exercises and intensity best suited for your body. Some very popular workouts may not be suitable for your age or gender.

Yes, we said gender. The ranges of motion men and women are more comfortable in are different in some ways. Women for instance are eight times more prone to injuries of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) or hamstring caused by a sudden twisting motion in the knee. Some sports like soccer and basketball are rife with such movements and such injuries. You can reduce the chances of these injuries by weight-training that is particularly focussed on the hamstring and the inner thigh. But it is important to be aware of the frequent sources of injuries.Men on other hand are more prone to tendon ruptures, especially the Achilles tendon – the one at the ankle. Strengthen your calf muscles through resistance training and avoid a lot of sudden strain on your ankle.

Age is a factor too. And so are illnesses. If you’re running a cold or a fever, there is absolutely no need to push yourself to workout. Doing this comes with more problems that it solves. Missing a workout when sick is  not being lazy, it’s being sensible and kind to your body.

Get your form right


Class of young adults follow a personal trainer in stretching exercises. Horizontal shot.

The number one cause of injuries in novice runners is wrong form. It’s quite easy to get your form wrong when running because it is such a dynamic activity. But there is a lot of information available now to evaluate your form. Get a friend (who preferably also runs) to watch you run, and make changes as suggested. If you can get a fitness instructor to do this for you, even better.

Good form is easier to achieve in exercises of restricted motion like in weight-lifting. There is a right way to squat and a right way to curl. Again listen to your instructor, and ask them for frequent check-ins to get your form right.

Warm it up and cool it down


The main benefit of warming up is injury prevention. Insufficient blood flow to an area makes it more prone to injury. When you’ve warmed up properly, this risk goes down. A minor benefit is it can get you feeling more enthusiastic about working out, which is not a given if you just start.

Cooling down and stretching, done after the workout, can prevent a lot of problems like muscle tightness, muscle soreness.

What do you think?