Exercise could be bad for you?! The statement seems counterintuitive, based on everything we are told about the positive benefits from exercise. While exercise can be an amazing tool for health and wellness, it’s also true that the wrong fitness approach can leave with you aches and discomfort at the least, and serious health consequences or injury at the worst.
Read these five reasons your workout could be hurting you:
- High Impact Movements: Any movement where both feet are off the ground at once is a high impact movement. Examples include running, jump squats, high knees, and burpees. (Burpees have their own unique issues mentioned below). Part of the challenge of high impact movements is the high stress load on joints, but the bigger problem is when our bodies have some type of misalignment at the hips, knees, and/or ankles. Misalignment is actually very common as bodies develop tight and under-active muscles. And essentially, your misalignment is exacerbated with every jump you take, leading to injury. High impact isn’t always better, and sometimes you’ll get more out of the movement by taking out the jump.
- Burpees aren’t as great as you think. Unpopular opinion, I know. When did burpees go from a love-hate relationship to a crowd favorite?! The problem with burpees is the amount of pressure on your lower back. Hopping your feet back, likely creates a dip in your lower back. Even if you are engaging your core and being very careful, there’s still tons of pressure on your lower back. Our opinion is that, if there are so many other movements that are just as effective, if not more, why risk it? Lower back injury is one of the most common forms of injury, so let’s take care of our lower backs.
- Fast-Paced Movements: A lot of fitness classes encourage fast-paced movements, especially those that are timed, use AMRAP’s (as many rounds as possible in a time period), or are competitive in nature. When we move quickly, our form is often sacrificed. When our form is sacrificed, our chance of injury is increased. Not only that, but the effectiveness of the movement decreases. Meaning, we get less out of it!
- Lack of Opposition Training: If we are only doing yoga and bodyweight workouts, we are training our chest more than our back. Without dumbbells or a piece of equipment to pull, we aren’t working our back muscles at the same rate we are working our chest muscles. Due to the uneven training, our chest, neck, and shoulders get really tight, which is already a concern as these muscles get tight during seated postures on a computer or phone. Be sure to switch it up and add pulling exercises to prevent overly tight chest, neck, and shoulders. (Our Tidal Strength class is a great way to be sure you are training both sides of the body).
- Cortisol Levels: Cortisol is a hormone that is released when we are stressed. Exercise is a form of stress on the body. So, if you’re stressed in your daily life, and then you participate in a high-intensity workout, you are stressing yourself even more. These stress hormones elevate heart rate, breath rate, and blood pressure. They also can have serious negative consequences to our digestive system over time. This isn’t to say you can’t participate in high-intensity workouts. It means that we should participate in them no more than three times a week. More importantly than limiting HIIT workouts, we need to foster balance by dedicating time to gentle movement and rest.
Our signature movement class (Tidal) is the best of both worlds. We begin and end every class with a grounding exercise to allow your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system to turn on. While there are moments that are high energy, they are mindful and self-paced. Based on what your body needs, you can choose how intense you want your class to be.
You can think of our Tidal classes as an incredibly effective workout, but also “prehab” instead of “rehab.” By moving in a smart way, you are greatly reducing your chance of injury and the need to have physical therapy down the road. Take care of your bodies now, through a safe and smart movement routine.