5 Scary Risks of Ordinary Exercises Everyone Does

Posted in: Exercise
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Susan Ohtake, Certified Personal Trainer

Susan Ohtake, CPT

Your body is a complex, finely tuned machine.

Inside of us are innumerable systems all working together down to the smallest cell to keep us alive and healthy. Yet, we don’t even notice the miracles occurring daily within us, because the body works SO well.

We only really notice when something goes wrong. Sometimes, that makes us reckless with the way we workout. We think we can do anything without consequences.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Some of the exercises we attempt can seriously hurt us (or leave us frustrated).

Let me show you what I mean by showing you 5 exercises that only end up leaving your frustrated (or worse!).

Isolation Exercises

Isolation exercises are bad news. For one thing, they don’t work unless you love to live at the gym. When you focus on building your strength with exercises that activate several muscle groups at the same time (instead of just one or two), you get fit much, much faster.

More importantly, exercising in isolation can easily hurt you.

By focusing on repetitive motions in one single area, you can do lasting damage to your body. Think about everyday injuries that come from repetitive motions—tennis elbow and carpal tunnel are great examples. They are common occurrences that show that the body can only take so much.

Don’t put your body under any more stress than you need to. Avoid repetitive isolation exercises and focus on full-body fitness instead.

Long-Distance Running

Long distance running leads to so many injuries that it’s impossible for most people to keep it up for any length of time. The stress on the joints, especially the knees, can cause permanent mobility problems.

Think of the force of each footfall hitting the pavement. Over and over again.

The repetitive pounding sends a shockwave throughout the entire body that can injure you for life. Instead, try interval training exercises with short, intense bouts of running.

Plus, long, boring cardio is an inefficient way to get fit and shed fat. More on this in a minute.

Exercise Machines

Exercise machines are everywhere, but they end up doing more harm than good.

Many machines (like those lifting machines at the gym) are easy to try because they don't give your body a choice...it has to move the way the machine moves. I know it's tempting to hop on them because you don't want to mess up a movement or hurt yourself...

...unfortunately, that's what many lifting machines end up doing.

When you use body weight movements or free weights (like a set of dumbbells), your muscles move naturally, with your body working multiple muscle groups at once for faster results.

Machines often force you into unnatural movements that only work a few muscles at a time. Plus, they are an easy way to end up with repetitive strain injuries.

Crunches and Sit-ups

Crunches and sit-ups are more than a waste of time, they can actually hurt you.

The results of a groundbreaking 1995 study showed clearly that sit-ups do more harm than good. They cause pressure on your lumbar area that can seriously damage the spine.

Not to mention the fact that sit-ups and ab-focused movements do little to actually burn fat off your core. If you want a defined core, focusing on fat loss (and getting the fat covering your abs off) is a better use of your time. Crunches and sit-ups are simply not effective fat burning exercises.

Long, Boring Endurance Workouts

Long, boring cardio workouts are not effective ways to melt fat.

I know, I know...

...we've been told for years about the "fat burning zone" and target heart rates you should stick to if you want to melt fat.

But the fact of the matter is, shorter workouts of 15-25 minutes can actually melt away just as much fat as an hour or more of long, boring cardio. A lot of it has to do with the way your body stores and protects fat. If you'd like to see why, take a look at the video below.

References:
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11415551

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