I am on a bit of a health kick right now. I may not be eating all of the foods that are good for me – but I am swearing off soda, coffee, and my life-saving energy drinks. I have also been working out for an hour at the gym. I noticed this week that after doing the elliptical for an hour my back was incredibly sore and I couldn’t figure it out. After all I am only 21 – which means that I am too young to be getting any back problems.
Then it hit me that I might not be exercising properly. Exercising is great for all of us to do – but if we don’t do it properly we can seriously damage parts of our body and defeat the purpose of trying to be healthy. It is important to know what not to do with certain exercises.
Leave The Neck Alone
Crunches are one of my favorite exercises and one of the easiest for me. It is a simple exercise for anyone – but it can be grueling to those who do it correctly. Many people will grab the back of their neck and pull up while performing the crunch. You can place your hands back there but if you pull up you are not only straining your neck and head – but you are not getting a work-out.
Too avoid this try placing your hands somewhere else. Try crossing your arms in front of you and placing them facing down on your chest. You will find that your stomach muscles are being used more. You will find that your neck ‘feels’ like it is straining – but in reality it is just helping to support the weight of your head.
Squatting Too Far
Squats are a great exercise for the legs – but don’t get too enthusiastic while doing them. To get a good work-out you don’t have to get all the way too the ground. Never place your knees in front of your toes because this will put too much pressure on your knees. Just go down far enough to feel a burn and keep your toes where you can see them. This will also prevent you from falling all the way to the ground and not being able to get back up without some help.
Quit The Stomping
I prefer the elliptical when working out – but there are some who feel that they are called to the treadmill. It’s great because it allows you to run without ever having to go anywhere. Just make sure that you are running properly. If you are pounding and stomping hard on the treadmill than you are doing it too hard and placing too much force on your joints.
I know that it is not the same as the pavement and can seem harder – but run lightly. This way you will save your joints and people can stop glaring at you for disrupting their peaceful workout.
Be Free And Let Go
I finally figured out the reason for my back problem. While training on the elliptical I always hold on to the handle bars for support and to keep me going steady. I realized that doing this will actually decrease the amount of exercise I am truly getting and can put strain on my lower back because I am at an odd angle while holding on.
Unfortunately for someone like me it can be hard to let go. I find that I become quite unsteady and can go off balance quite easily. However, if I were to focus hard on what I am doing and keep my arms moving from side to side at a decent pace with my body I might be able to master it. Wish me luck!