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The 3 Cardinal Sins of Fitness You Might Be Making

fitness mistakesYou attend spin class religiously. You watch every morsel of food you put in your mouth. You take pride in the amount of weight you can bench. You’re doing everything right … but are you really?

Here are 3 cardinal sins of fitness you might be making:

1. You exercise and then lounge around for the rest of the day.

True, you may have gotten your workout in, but that doesn’t give you a free pass to lay around being lazy the rest of the day. Whether that’s sitting at a desk at work or chilling on the couch with your family, sitting is a danger to your health regardless of your exercise habits. Sitting too much increases your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. If you need to sit during the day, try to make the best of it: fidget in your chair, stand up and walk around every 15 minutes, or use the stairs whenever possible. Every tiny bit helps in the battle against weight gain and disease, so don’t underestimate the small efforts you can make.

2. You starve yourself after a workout.

You just spent the last hour busting your tail on the treadmill; the last thing you want to do is toss that calorie burn down the toilet by eating, right? Wrong. Not eating after exercising can lead to poor recovery, fatigue, and low blood sugar. To adequately prepare your muscles for your next workout, you need to give them energy to rebuild and recover. This is especially true when it comes to strength training, high intensity workouts, or workouts lasting longer than 60 minutes. Try to eat within 30 to 45 minutes of completing your workout, but even within two hours is pretty good. Shoot for a combo of protein and carbohydrates. If you’re worried about adding too many extra calories to your day’s total, plan your meals around your workouts. For example, hit the gym right before lunch. When you finish working out, dig in: It’ll take care of lunch time and refueling in one shot.

3. You skimp on the stretching.

I know. It’s hard to get to the gym, squeeze in a workout, and still wipe off your sweat before the kids get up. It’s understandable you want to maximize your gym time with cardio and strength training, but skipping on the stretching part could land you on the sidelines with injury and pain. Trust me, I know. Stretching increases your joints’ range of motion and improves blood flow to your muscles, both of which can prevent injuries. Make sure you warm up before stretching or your injury prevention plan could backfire. Flexibility may not be the most exhilarating part of staying in shape, but it’s definitely important. If you find stretching too dull, add some yoga or dance to your workout routine to mix things up.

What other common “sins of fitness” would you add to the list?

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