No matter your age, the goal is to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. This means sticking to a few crucial habits: eating a diet chock-full of veggies and lean protein, performing strength training, and getting in weekly cardio sessions. Although many individuals try to stay dedicated to their healthy habits, picking up some unhealthy ones along the way isn’t uncommon. Today we’re going to chat about the bad fitness habits that are rapidly aging your body so you can ditch them ASAP. Keep reading to find out if you’re making any of these errors.
Growing older comes with the loss of lean muscle mass, otherwise known as sarcopenia. After you hit 30, you can lose up to 3% to 5% of muscle mass every 10 years. This results in decreased mobility and increased weakness. That’s why it’s so important to perform strength training and make sure you’re eating enough protein in your diet.
Of course, when leading an active life, there’s a right way to go about it. Make sure you’re avoiding these bad fitness habits that are rapidly aging your body.
Pre-workouts are all the rage right now. Many fitness enthusiasts love incorporating them as part of their routine so they can train harder and make the most out of each sweat session. Some use them as a pick-me-up if they’re not feeling energetic and need that extra push to get into workout mode.
The problem is that many of these pre-workout supplements are high in caffeine, which can lead to negative side effects like headaches, insomnia, anxiety, jitters, and an increased heart rate, according to Healthline. In addition, pre-workout could upset your stomach, increase water retention, and even result in weight gain (if creatine is part of the particular formula).
It’s easy to become reliant on these supplements, but for the sake of your health and getting in a solid workout, I recommend using them as a last resort. Stick to one to two cups of coffee instead.
Although you want to make progress in your workouts, some individuals go overboard. This is typically in the form of performing too much volume (sets and reps). It’s easy to think that if you’re doing something good for yourself, it’s probably worth overdoing. However, there’s only so much work you can do before it negatively impacts your body. The term for this is known as “junk volume,” where you’re simply accumulating fatigue with no added benefits.
Remember that training is also a stressor on the body. If you’re using too much volume without taking sufficient time to recover, this can increase your cortisol levels. Your energy over the next few days will suffer. Needless to say, it’s not worth having a brutal workout followed up by a few where your performance isn’t the best. Instead, perform 2 to 3 working sets of an exercise, then move on to the next.
Just like going overboard with training volume is a major no-no, another one of the bad fitness habits that are rapidly aging your body is skipping out on rest days, which can cause burnout. If you’re training hard, then you need to take a day to focus on active recovery—low-intensity cardio, stretching, and stress management. In order to make progress and build muscle, you have to let your body rest and recover. After all, that’s when the growth occurs.
Dedicate one to two days a week to rest days, focusing on other low-intensity activities. If you’ve been pushing your body through a tough training program, consider taking a deload week, where you cut back on both the volume and the intensity of your workouts.
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.