6 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting A Heart-Healthy Fitness Routine
By now, you're most likely aware that starting a heart-healthy fitness routine is one of the best decisions you'll ever make for your overall well-being. However, beginning a heart-healthy regimen and ensuring consistency takes more than deciding to run on a treadmill one day.
Being mindful of common mistakes is vital to gain the most benefit from a fitness routine and avoid unnecessary risks. According to cardiologists, here are the six common mistakes people make when embarking on a heart-healthy exercise regimen:
Mistake 1: Failing to consult with a medical professional
Beginning a fitness routine without consulting your doctor or cardiologist poses risks to your health, particularly if you have pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors like diabetes, obesity, or a recent amputation. A healthcare professional will help you design a safe and effective regimen tailored to your needs and capabilities, and a prosthetist can ensure you're prosthetic limb is in good working order.
Mistake 2: Jumping into intense workouts too quickly
When starting a heart-healthy fitness routine, it's important to pace yourself. Diving headfirst into intense workouts might lead to overexertion and increase the risk of injury or even a cardiac episode.
Begin with low-impact activities like walking, cycling, or swimming, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts, allowing your body to adjust over time. Although the recommended amount of physical activity is 150 minutes weekly, begin with 10 minutes daily and work your way up.
Be mindful of adverse symptoms, like pain in your chest, dizziness, or difficulty breathing during exercise.
Mistake 3: Ignoring rest and recovery
Rest days are sometimes overlooked, particularly when we want immediate results. However, overtraining can cause stress on your heart, so scheduling rest days and paying attention to how your body feels are vital.
Mistake 4: Not stretching or warming up
In the same vein as ignoring rest and recovery is not stretching before and after exercise. Although it might seem like a waste of time, those few minutes you take to warm up and cool down before and after a workout can help protect your body and avoid injuries.
Mistake 5: Neglecting to combine aerobic exercises with strength training
Focusing solely on aerobic exercises, like fast walking or biking, may not yield optimal heart health benefits. Incorporating strength training activities, such as resistance training or bodyweight exercises, is vital to support a well-rounded heart-healthy routine. Combining both types of exercise can help you improve your cardiovascular health, build lean muscle mass, and maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing the risk of heart complications in the long run.
Mistake 6: Doing activities you don't enjoy
This is among the top reasons people don't stick to an exercise routine—they often choose activities they don't enjoy. So, knowing what you like and don't like is important. If you were never into running, don't start with that. You don't need to sign up for a marathon just because you think it'll benefit your heart.
You can consider other heart-healthy activities, like hiking, playing soccer, or dancing. There are a lot of options available, so choose what you love.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can set yourself up for success in starting and maintaining a heart-healthy fitness routine. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional, begin slowly, incorporate rest days, and combine aerobic activities with strength training to maximize the benefits for your heart and overall well-being.