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No pain, no gain. We hear this saying all the time, encouraging us to work harder and push through discomfort during our workout. For a chiropractor, this saying is like nails on a chalkboard. Your workout at the gym should never inspire pain. It’s not just bad for you – it’s dangerous.
A good chiropractor is always looking out for your best, injury-free interests. Our main goal is to naturally relieve pressure, tension, and pain resulting from a condition and/or injury. The last thing we want is for you to experience cramps, numbness, and inflammation.
If you want to be your chiropractor’s new best friend, stop making these pain-inducing and injury-producing mistakes at the gym.
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1) Skipping your rest days
You’re revved up and ready to train! In fact, you’re so motivated to stay fit that you want to go to the gym every day.
Hold it right there. According to experts, you should never be exercising every day. During any workout, your muscles are being stretched and strengthened in new ways. They’re working hard and if you don’t let them rest, they can’t recover, grow, and repair if need be. In other words, if you exercise every day, you could overuse them and create stiffness and tension, or even make yourself prone to overuse injuries.
Don’t overdo it, as fitness expert Mia Morales says. Keep those rest days sacred.
2) Not tracking your workouts
You just finished a nice, sweaty workout at the gym. You’re about to hit the showers and mentally check out for the rest of the night.
Before you do, whip out your phone and record what you did at the gym. Tracking your workouts these days is a piece of cake with a smartphone. There are several great apps for recording what exercises you did and for how long/for how many repetitions. This kind of information can be motivating for your fitness goals, but also plays another key role: preventing injury.
By keeping track of your fitness, you can be sure to customize your routine to make sure you’re not using the same muscle group too often and provoking muscle strain. You can revise your exercise plan to include stretching time. Or, you can plan to mix up your routine to better cross-train. Lastly, you can also make notes about your workout and any pains you may be experiencing.
All this information will help you pay attention to your body and its needs. In case of injury, it will also be valuable for determining what may have caused it and what exercises you should add to your routine.
Using an app to track your fitness will keep you constantly ahead of possible injuries.
3) Not getting a personal trainer
You just bought a new gym membership and you can’t wait to try out all the equipment. You’ve never used some of the machines, but you’re sure to learn quickly by testing them out.
Are you sure about that? Using the wrong equipment or gear is a rookie mistake that can provoke pain and/or injury. If you’ve just started a new gym or exercise program, it’s vital that you get the right information and exercises modeled just for you.
The best way to learn new equipment and exercise using correct form is to hire a personal trainer. They can show you how to use new machines using proper technique.
If you think you’re too good for a personal trainer, think again. A common cause of soreness and inflammation is exercising with bad form, which aggravates some muscles and leaves other muscles unused and weak. A professional knows best.
4) Only focusing on sexy muscles
You want to get beach-ready for the summer, which means abs, abs, abs. So, you plan on only working out this muscle group. You don’t have time for anything else!
Please make time for other exercises. As we all know, ignoring certain muscle groups can be detrimental to your health. When you just focus on those sexy muscles, such as abs, biceps or glutes, you’re forgetting that muscles form a connected network. For example, to support your new and improved biceps, you’ll need the support of smaller muscles like your shoulders and neck, and even muscles in your lower body. Without this support, you’ll be on the road to tension, stiffness, and inflammation.
As a good rule of thumb, you should always do warm-up and cool-down stretches. At the least, this will keep your muscles and joints fluid before and after your workout, preventing injury. Not sure how to effectively stretch? Check out these excellent guidelines for stretching from the American College of Sports Medicine.
5) Not taking care of your body
You didn’t sleep very well last night and you’re running late for your early-morning workout, but no matter! Your fitness goals are really important to you, so you’re off to the gym tired and without breakfast.
No, just no. You won’t have a productive exercise session if you don’t take care of your basic needs, like sleep, fuel, and water. What’s more, you might be setting yourself up for a painful workout.
Before you go to the gym, be sure to get enough sleep. If your body is worn out, you are more likely to exercise carelessly and not focus on technique. Your muscles will also be more likely to tire and cramp. Get some Z’s before giving it your all at the gym.
Also, to put yourself in the best position possible, you should stay hydrated and eat a green-based diet. Your muscles will need to be replenished by plenty of water and are best fueled by fiber and protein-rich foods.
6) Not listening to your body
You’re in the middle of your reps when you feel a sharp pain in your shoulder. You really want to make it to rep 25, so you keep going.
This is your chiropractor’s worse nightmare! Listening to your body and pain is extremely important in productive workouts. Ignoring your pain, or pushing yourself too hard could cause immediate damage or injury.
If you do experience pain, tension, cramps, numbness or inflammation during a workout session, it may be a good idea to see a chiropractic doctor near you. They can help relieve your pain and give you more advice on preventing future injury.
Forget about no pain, no gain and all these gym mistakes we want you to stop. Instead, pay attention to your body and respect it when you need to take a break.
Guest author: Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998. He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.