Working out is supposed to be healthy, and not only extend your life…but the quality of your life, right? Experts all agree that exercise is a great and necessary thing, but they also caution that there are certain bad, and very common, exercise habits that can increase your risk for serious injury.
Not only that, but some of these bad habits can even do the reverse of what they’re supposed to do…and make you look older!
So which exercise habits are best avoided?
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Not Enough Stress-Relieving Workouts…
Kicking and punching your stress away will make you feel better for a little while, but incorporating yoga into your fitness routine regularly may help you look younger and prevent breakouts while blasting stress much more long-term than that kickboxing class.
“Yoga moves like Child’s Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Sun Salutations improve circulation—the boost of oxygen is what gives skin that lovely yoga glow,” says Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington, DC–area dermatologist.
Also, new research finds regular yoga practice may reduce the inflammation and stress that speed skin aging. If you need another reason to break out your yoga mat: High levels of tension can spike hormone production that leads to breakouts or aggravates conditions like psoriasis.
Not Enough Strength Training…
Following a regular strength-training routine that creates better, more supportive muscle tone will help you firm sagging skin from the neck down.
“I am religious about strength-training, and I always tell patients to do it more as they get older,” says Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist in Metairie, LA. “It’s like adding volume to the face with fillers, except on your body,” says Dr. Farris.
Not Enough Rest…
When your exercise routine is so intense that you’re tired all the time but can’t sleep at night, you’re setting yourself up for overuse injuries—not to mention dark circles and bags under your eyes from those sleepless nights. These symptoms could be a sign of overexhaustion, says Ryan Halvorson, personal trainer, IDEA Health and Fitness Association expert, and author.
Other clues that you’re working out too much include extreme muscle soreness that persists for several days, unintended weight loss, an increased resting heart rate, interruptions in your menstrual cycle, or decreased appetite.
“Plan your rest as well as you plan exercise,” says Polly de Mille, RN, a registered clinical exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. “If there is no balance between breakdown and recovery, then the muscle is in a state of chronic inflammation and what may start as a simple case of soreness after a hard workout can turn into an actual overuse injury.”