It’s no secret that the most popular new year’s resolution is always fitness-related. Gym memberships surge in January and a shockingly high percentage of folks (80%, by all estimates) bail on their resolutions by February. However, if you’re one of the few that has managed to stick with their workout resolution, good for you! Be careful, though, as becoming obsessed with a new fitness routine can actually be harmful to your health. Here’s how.
Sleep Vs. Exercise
One of the biggest mistakes people who are new to a workout routine make is sacrificing sleep in order to exercise. We’re not saying that you should stay in bed just because it’s nice, warm, and comfy. We’re saying that you shouldn’t force yourself out of bed to work out when you’ve only had a few hours of sleep and are still exhausted. You obviously need to change your sleep habits here before you focus on the workout habits. Quality sleep is vital to not only getting the most out of your workouts but also in managing your stress levels and even combatting illnesses.
Working Out While Sick
Speaking of illness, if you’re sick, take a break from the gym. First of all, if you happen to also be contagious, your fellow gym-goers will thank you. More importantly, though, forcing yourself to work out while you’re sick will only make your illness worse and increase your recovery time. Stay in bed, take your meds, and hit the gym hard again once you feel up to it.
There are a ton of websites, apps, and social media platforms that focus on working out and are meant to keep you motivated. However, many of those sites can actually result in your feeling guilty or shamed. While it’s not intentional, staring at other users who have seemingly perfect bodies all day long can actually take a toll on your self-esteem. Many users find themselves constantly comparing their own bodies to the “top users” on these platforms and they become over critical. In many cases, they abandon their fitness goals altogether, assuming they’ll never look as good as the photos, or they push themselves too hard and cause serious damage to their bodies in pursuit of their goals.
Ignoring Recovery Time
Finally, it’s important to give your body time to recover, especially if you’ve only been working out since January 1st. Trying to jump into a seven-days-a-week workout routine is not a good idea if you’re not experienced. Your body needs time to recover. Soreness is a good indicator. A little soreness is expected and actually a good thing—it lets you know your body is changing. Serious pain is something entirely different. Staring out, try to work out no more than every other day. Eventually, you can find the exact schedule that works for you, but even then, you’re going to need to work in some recovery time.