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When Exercise Goes Bad


We all know that exercise is an essential element in all wellness regimens. Even moderate amounts of physical activity may help reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease. The weight loss that often stems from regular exercise can also decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, keeping you safer from other chronic diseases as well. In addition, a clear mind, a sense of accomplishment and increased energy and productivity are obvious benefits of physical activity.

So what's the downside to exercising? Sometimes we can take our efforts to the extreme and put ourselves at risk for injury. Here are five harmful habits of fitness fiends. If you're guilty of committing any of these actions, consider talking to your healthcare professional to determine how you can maintain a healthy workout habit without going overboard.


It's OK to take a break once in a while. In fact, it's recommended. Try to rest at least one day a week. If you can't pull yourself away from a seventh-day workout, why not try scheduling "easy" and "hard" workout sessions instead of pushing yourself over the top all the time? Pushing yourself too hard and too often can lead to serious injuries and burnout that will keep you resting much longer than one day.

Staying On (The Same) Track

Doing the same routine limits the results you'll see and decreases your motivation -- not to mention it can put you at risk of developing overuse injuries such as tendonitis. Make sure to change things up. Meet with a trainer once a month to learn new moves and to continue challenging yourself, or try adding a new activity to your workout routine every other week.

Exercising Incorrectly

Pay attention to your trainer, coach or instructor. If you have physical limitations or are uncomfortable doing certain moves, ask for alternative options -- and be wary of anyone who can't provide them. When lifting weights, don't push yourself to lift too much too soon or too fast. Correct form with slow and steady repetitions will get you better results than heavy weights.

Coughing It Up

You might think that working up a good sweat will help you eliminate germs and toxins -- but the reality is that overly intense workouts can wear down your immune system and prolong your illness. Although a moderate workout probably won't worsen mild symptoms like the sniffles, you should definitely skip the gym if you have a fever, chest congestion, a cough or stomach ache. Once you've recovered, start your workouts at an easier level so as not to risk agitating your illness.

Overdoing Exercise Through Pregnancy

Physical activity is just as important, if not more, when you're pregnant. However, in order to make sure you're not endangering your pregnancy in any way, visit your doctor as soon as possible to discuss how to appropriately modify your fitness routine for these nine months and beyond. Stop exercising immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Unusual or excessive shortness of breath
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Rapid heartbeat (more than 140 beats per minute)
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Significant pain
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