A Fitness Blog I Love!

Many of us wear multiple hats at Pushing7. Personally, I can be found doing anything from my usual graphic and web design tasks, to serving as our unofficial company photographer. In addition, I have the pleasure of teaching and working out at New Self Renewal Center, a fitness center, spa and café that's located in our building. (And also a Pushing7 client!)

Since New Self opened, I've had the chance to get to know the fitness director, Christina Dexter, both as a student in her classes and as a fitness mentor when I became certified to teach small group fitness classes and personal training sessions. I particularly enjoy her New Self blog; it gives her a great opportunity to expand on fitness topics she (and all of us at New Self) are passionate about.

I'd like to share one of Christina's recent posts with you. The following post ran originally on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 and can be found here in it's original format.

8 Guaranteed Ways to Hurt Yourself at the Gym, by Christina Dexter

In order for you to be your best advocate when you exercise, you should be aware of some of the more common reasons for injury. Ideally, you should learn about exercise safety from an exercise professional, but you should also use common sense and avoid exercises that aren’t right for your fitness level. Listen to your body and when in doubt, BACK OFF!

  1. NO PAIN. NO GAIN? Okay, so exercise isn’t supposed to feel good all of the time but PAIN is your body’s way of telling you something is WRONG. If you ignore this and continue to push, it is certainly the fastest way to acquire a serious or chronic injury. If you feel pain, stop what you are doing and REST!
  2. WHO NEEDS REST? It seems logical that sports injuries are often the result of overuse – simply from doing too much. However, any exercise routine that lacks rest days is potentially unsafe. To avoid an overuse injury, you need to balance rest days with exercise to allow your body to recover.
  3. I CAN GET FIT FASTER BY DOING MORE? Gradually increasing both the time and intensity of exercise is the ideal way to allow the body to adapt, grow stronger and become more fit. However, pushing your body beyond its ability to adapt will result in illness or injury. Many beginners find this out the hard way. They go out too hard, too fast and too furious and end up sore, injured and hating exercise. Even elite athletes can fall into this trap by thinking that if they are extremely fit in one sport, they can do anything. Not so. No matter what level of ability they have in another sport, athletes can get injured if they attempt to perform an exercise that is beyond their fitness level for that particular exercise. Remember to be realistic when assessing your ability and skill level.
  4. HEAVIER WEIGHTS ARE BETTER? Any weight training exercise that is done with weights that are too heavy for you is risky. It's that simple. If you can't maintain proper form while lifting, the weights are too heavy for you.
  5. JUST DO IT! FORM ISN'T IMPORTANT! When you are new to exercise or learning a new routine, it's important to learn how to do the movements properly. Most people should get some professional coaching at the beginning of a new sport to learn the fundamentals and develop good habits. If meeting with a professional coach, trainer or instructor is not possible, at least take a look at some books or videos about sports technique and exercise form. Keep in mind that we are all unique and some movements may be better-suited to your abilities or biomechanics. An instructor can help you modify exercises to fit your unique needs.
  6. WHO NEEDS VARIETY? Doing the same exercise day after day may help you become very skilled at a sport, but it is another way to end up with an overuse injury. Stressing the same muscle groups and performing the same movement patterns repeatedly can put a tremendous amount of strain on muscles, tendons and ligaments, causing irritation, inflammation and even stress fractures. Even if you successfully avoid an overuse injury, you may end up with muscle imbalance, weakness, tightness and alignment problems. To avoid these problems, vary your exercise training routine. Do a variety of different types of exercise and cross train.
  7. QUICK IS BETTER! If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to finish your entire exercise routine, select a few to perform PROPERLY! Sloppy or uncontrolled movements occur for a variety of reasons, including fatigue, lack of appropriate skill, going too fast, and a lack of attention. When you are exercising, it's essential to be in control of your body. Sloppy execution or poor control is a set-up for injury. Even the safest exercise can become unsafe when done in an uncontrolled manner.
  8. PROPER PROGRESSION. As discussed in a previous blog, it is wise to strengthen the muscles of the core in order to prepare your body for heavier workloads, exercises, etc. Jumping straight into the tough stuff may sideline you with injury.