Are you a "Cardio Criminal"? FOX 9 Fitness Expert Ali Holman from CoreCamper.com stopped by to share some of the biggest cardio mistakes.
To find out more about Ali's Online Training Program, visit http://www.CoreCamper.com
CRIME #1: Leaning on the Machine
While gripping the handles or console of a cardio machine can aid in balance, leaning too much of your weight into the handles of the machine will decrease your workout intensity and burn far fewer calories. If you're moving so fast or feel so tired that you cannot keep the pace without taking weight off of your legs by placing it into your arms, you are far better off decreasing your speed or workout intensity than by keeping the speed and leaning.
CRIME #2: Stretching before Your Workout
Stretching is NOT the same thing as a warm up, although many people confuse the two. And stopping to stretch after you warm up completely negates the fact that you just warmed up. Your muscles are warm and your joints most lubricated at the end of your cardio session. There's no need to stretch twice, so you might as well save your stretching time for the end when you'll get the most benefit.
CRIME #3: Carrying Weights While You Walk
It's generally safe if you're holding weights less than 3 pounds, but at that weight, there might not be a huge challenge or benefit for you. Hold much more and your injury risk skyrockets. Experts do agree that ankle weights are a no-no. When it comes to cardio, work on increasing speed, incline or resistance to increase the cardio challenge of a workout than simply add weights to a workout.
CRIME #4: Only Doing Cardio
If cardio is the only form of exercise in which you partake, you are really missing out. You may even be at risk for what many people fear: becoming "skinny fat." Many people think of cardio as the key to fat-burning, and it is important. But strength training is, too. More muscle helps boost your metabolism so you burn more calories all day—and during every cardio session. Regular strength training is just as important in a fitness and weight-loss program as cardio.
CRIME #5: Zoning Out
Reading, watching or listening to media during your workout can really hurt your results. When we're not focusing on the task at hand, two things happen; first, we start to slack off because bouncing around too much makes it harder to read or we're simply forgetting what we're really at the gym to do (work hard). Second, because we're not paying attention, our form tends to go by the wayside.
CRIME #6: Confusing "Activity" with Cardio
This is probably the most common mistake I see. We know how important it is to be active, and so we try to count every activity we do as "exercise" or cardio. That can be a big mistake for several reasons. While any activity is better than no activity, only those activities that really challenge us in a cardiovascular sense really give us the health and fitness benefits we exercise in order to reap. Plus, tracking calories burned from every little thing you do is only misleading. You're only really burning "extra" calories when you're working pretty darn hard—not when you're simply walking leisurely through the mall or doing some light cleaning.