By Martina Simon
When we think of fitness, we don’t necessarily think of it as a pastime that could be doing more harm than good. But in some cases you might find that in your quest to be fit and healthy, you could be hurting your body rather than helping it. In this post we highlight the top tips that promise to make you fit, healthy and slim, but in reality can leave you exhausted, injured and heavier.
Aggressive cardiovascular activity
Cardiovascular exercise is the thing we all think of when we decide to get fit. From aerobics to running to cycling, this is the kind of exercise that helps us to drop weight and strengthen our bodies. However, when we approach this kind of exercise aggressively; we can actually put unnecessary strain on our joints causing irreversible damage. So, whether you decide to run further, or go to more Zumba classes, just remember that your body weight is pounding into your joints and as this is repeated over and over, eventually you could run the risk of causing damage to your weakest joints.
Restricting calories to lose weight
Restricting the level of calories you intake each day means you are restricting the energy your body needs to keep you going throughout the day. What this means is that you could end up seriously fatigued because your body is so under-fuelled it is simply exhausted. Fatigue can drain your energy and cause all manner of problems in your day-to-day life. In addition, your body – when it works out that you are starving it – will hang on to those calories, storing fat rather than shedding it.
Permanent damage from lifting heavy weights
Proving that you can lift increasingly heavy weights may make you feel that you are stronger, healthier and a beacon for fitness, but in actual fact you could be doing more damage to your muscles. Lifting very heavy weights requires a great deal of preparation and if you are not careful you might find yourself causing irreparable damage to your body. On the other hand, lifting lighter weights at greater repetition will keep you in the gym, rather than at home nursing an injury.
Heart damage from running
Training for a marathon seems like the ultimate dream for anyone into fitness, but many experts believe it can be a recipe for disaster. Some think that running long distances puts you at greater risk of heading for a heart attack due to potential structural changes to the heart and large arteries. You see, while some runners suffer just temporary changes to their heart function, others develop more permanent changes because this ‘scar tissue’ can, for some, build up over time and this build up of scar tissue is what leads to future heart problems.
Crunch your way to amazing abs!
When we think amazing abs, we generally think crunches and sit-ups. But what does doing a hundred crunches everyday really achieve? We all have a six-pack, even if it is lurking under a healthy layer of padding… but there lies the crux. It is the removing of that layer of fat that is going to reveal our abs and no amount of stomach crunches is going to burn that body fat. So, burning body fat is where we should be concentrating our efforts, not huffing and puffing our way through zillions of crunches.
Promises of losing a stone in a week can be tempting when we want to get into that little black dress at the weekend, but fad diets, which often deprive us of carbs and fats, can leave us suffering from malnutrition. If you follow a crash diet for any length of time the effects of malnutrition may become apparent in low energy, impaired function of the brain and an increased risk of infection. All of these things will affect your everyday health, ability to work and also to exercise.
When we feel a little under the weather or run down, it’s pretty normal and generally acceptable to reach for the vitamins to give our bodies the boost they crave. But in reality, overloading our system with more vitamins could actually be doing more harm with some even attributing the addition of extra vitamins to early death. Some scientists believe that supplements actually tamper with our body’s natural defences, more so in females, and that instead a well-balanced diet could provide all the nutrients and vitamins we need.
Eating fruit for weight loss
Being on a diet often means lots of delicious fresh fruit salads but too much fresh fruit can actually cause the body to put on fat. The reason for this is that while fresh fruit contains lots of good stuff like vitamins and antioxidants, it also contains lots of natural sugar in the form of fructose and this fructose can lead to your insulin levels increasing, which in turn can add body fat.
– This post contributed by Martina Simon was written on behalf of Ellern Mede; a dedicated specialist hospital providing intensive treatment for young people.