The Importance Of Form In Exercising
Attention to form helps you stay off the side-lines and reach your fitness goals better.
Proper form in exercise means more than just looking good. You need to do exercises correctly to get the intended benefit and stay healthy. Poor form is a major cause of injury both in simple exercises and more complex routines, such as weightlifting or yoga. Attention to form helps you stay off the side-lines and reach your fitness goals better.
Some athletes consider stretching a harmless warm-up to the real exercise routine. The Mayo Clinic website says you actually need a minimum five minutes or more of light aerobics to warm up before stretching. This helps prevent injuries from stretching when muscles are cold. Using proper form when stretching also prevents injuries. Emphasize the large muscles, and stretch both sides of the body equally. Move smoothly without bouncing, and hold the stretch a half minute or more. Do each stretch a minimum of three times. However, do not stretch until you feel actual pain. If a stretch hurts, release it to where the pain disappears.
Correct form and technique in weight training improve your strength and muscle tone and help you attain a healthy weight. The Mayo Clinic reports that poor form prevents you from getting the results you desire. Instead, you increase the chances of strains and even fractures that make exercise impossible. Work with a qualified fitness specialist in the beginning to learn correct form. Then go back for a tune-up after you have gained experience. Wellness coach Beth Shepard suggests lifting with controlled movement at an even pace. Don't let gravity do the work for you.
Walking and Running
Walking and running seem like natural activities, but even they require attention to form. Good posture minimizes the chance of harm from walking, although walkers incur less risk than runners. According to the Better Health Channel of Victoria, British Columbia, approximately one-third of runners sustain an injury at some time. The causes include incorrect shoes, overtraining and bad form. For example, excessive pronation of the foot, or turning the sole and toes too much, causes an abnormal gait in walking or running. According to the Sports Injury Clinic, this gait results in abnormalities such as Achilles tendonitis, bunions and plantar fasciitis, especially in runners.
Correct form in yoga can make the difference between progress and injury. Yoga studio owner Christine Burke told the "Los Angeles Times" that learning at home alone is dangerous. You can even injure yourself in class if the teacher does not notice your poor form. Incorrect form or overstretching can result in sprains or strains, even from the simpler poses. Three yoga instructors reported in the American Council on Exercise website that advanced poses are dangerous without preparation and good form. These poses require a correct warm-up, good biomechanics, and intuition or body awareness. Yoga practitioners also court danger when they exceed their individual limitations or appropriate level of difficulty.