5 unhealthy fitness habits you must break today
Like most of us, you’ve probably only got a limited time to exercise each week. Yet you expect so much from your exercise – fitness, weight management, stress management and mental health benefits, maybe even blood pressure and cholesterol reduction.
So why not make the most of every minute? Here are 5 habits that might be stopping you from gaining all the advantages of your workout:
1. Exercising at a moderate pace
This is a tricky one, so let’s cover it first. It’s true that exercising at a moderate pace has many benefits. Brisk walking is fabulous for you in dozens of ways.
However, from a fitness perspective, you’re better off doing short bursts of high-intensity activity. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a good example. Instead of steady jogging, run hard for one minute and then walk or slow jog for two, then repeat five times. Aim to work at 85% of your maximum heart rate.
2. Being boring
Yes, exercise habits are good. But the type of physical activity you do doesn’t have to be constant. In fact, it’s better if you mix it up. The human body adapts well, which means that once your body gets used to an exercise, the benefits diminish. Say you started out aiming to run 5k. Once that 5k feels easy, you need to mix it up with sprints and strength training (eg lunges and pushups at halfway mark).
3. Exercising on an empty stomach
You’ve probably heard you can lose more weight if you exercise on an empty stomach. That’s not entirely true. If your blood sugar and energy is too low, you won’t be able to push yourself as hard. In addition, some evidence shows that if you don’t have enough blood sugar, your body will try to eat its own muscle tissue to get the glycogen it needs.
4. Ignoring strength
Cardio is good – it’s easy, can be done anywhere and burns calories. However strength training gives you a whole range of added benefits, which include:
- better blood sugar control
- reduced visceral fat
- increased muscle-to-fat ratio. This not only helps you look toned, but helps your body burn more kilojoules when at rest
- greater stamina
- decreased risk of injury
- increased bone density and strength and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
5. Arguing with yourself about it
There’s always something else you could or should be doing instead of exercising. Many are valid and strong reasons. That’s why it’s important to make exercise an irrefutable part of your day. Accept no arguments from yourself. Just do it, and you’ll be thankful you did – today and into the future.
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