Burn, don’t crash: Workout myths busted

Regular exercise is vital to good health. However, excessive exercise can lead to injuries and reduce immunity levels. Know your boundaries to exercise safely and get the most out of your workouts.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your exercise session :

1. Warm-up and cooldown

A warm-up prepares the body for the activity to follow. Muscles perform better and are less prone to injury when they are warm. A warm-up can mean simply walking or marching for 5 to 10 minutes to raise the body’s core temperature. A cool-down lowers the body’s temperature, gradually. The last 5 to 10 minutes of the workout should be cooldown time. This allows the blood to return from the working muscles to the heart and for the body to return to its resting state.

2. Start off with moderate intensity

Gradually prepare the body to exercise without over-straining. Make sure the exercise program is structured, systematic and progressive.

3. Stretch your body

Stretching prevents muscle soreness and increases flexibility. It also relaxes the muscles, mobilises the joints and improves posture.

4. Drink water

Our body loses water when we sweat during a workout. This water loss needs to be replaced. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

5. Consult a qualified trainer

Consult a trainer to help you with the right form. Getting the technique or the posture wrong, or sudden jerky movements during a workout can cause serious injuries. The right technique will protect your joints and safeguard your body from exercise trauma. Get your trainer’s help to focus on the right posture to keep your body properly aligned while exercising.

6. Get enough nutrition

What you eat influences the results of your fitness regimen. A sound nutrition plan can help you build muscle, decrease the percentage of body fat and help you look and feel better. Also, if you eat healthily, you will have the necessary energy to exercise and be active. It’s a cycle.

7. Rest adequately

Rest plays an important role in formulating effective training sessions. It helps the muscles to recuperate from the stress of exercise. Especially while weight training, the muscles need at least 48 hours of rest in between workout sessions to recover and recuperate.


If you are exercising too much and are on a severely restricted diet, you could be putting yourself at risk for serious health problems. Here’s how going to extremes can hurt your health :

1. Brittle nails, thinning hair, weak bones

These are a result of excessive exercise and insufficient intake of nutrients, particularly
iron, calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium deficiency can also lead to osteoporosis especially after the age of 35.

2. Constipation

If you cut out carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables from your diet, you end up reducing the amount of dietary fibre in your daily diet. This leads to constipation.

3. Injury

Any exercise programme that progresses too fast too soon can lead to injury. The intensity of the workout should be gradually increased to allow the body to be prepared for it. This will minimise the risk of injury due to over-training. Your body has limits, and you should be aware of them.

4. Resting Pulse Rate

It is important to be aware of your resting pulse rate, especially when you wake up. This is the number of heartbeats per minute if you are resting. If this fluctuates more than 8 – 10 beats per minute in comparison to your normal resting heart rate, it is a clear indication of over-tiredness.

5. Change in sleeping Pattern

Excessive physical activity and strict dieting deplete the body of its energy. The body cannot cope with the daily intensity of your physical activity. This could alter your sleeping pattern. You might experience :

  • Difficulty in falling asleep.
  • Disturbed sleep.
  • Frequently waking up or feeling exhausted in the mornings.

6. Change in eating pattern

The body reacts in many ways when it is put under stress. You might notice a loss of appetite or increase in appetite or constant food cravings.

7. Reduced concentration span

Excessive exercise makes it difficult for the body to continue with daily activities with proper concentration. The body also experiences constant, nagging aches and pains if it is overstrained which also affects your concentration span.

8. Diet plan

A healthy body needs a balanced diet along with the right amount of exercise. Pay attention to what you eat and when you eat it. Without the right fuel, the brain struggles to concentrate and functions at a reduced capacity. There is increased anxiety and irritability. Don’t make the mistake of making ‘getting in shape’ your only goal and set out to achieve it fast or at any cost. A sensible diet and exercise plan will give you better, long-lasting results. You will begin to feel and look great, be more energetic and be able to cope with the stress and strain of life more easily.

– Namita Jain

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