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5 Workout Mistakes That Are Actually Aging You

...And what you should do to fix it

We know that exercising is the most important thing for your physical body.  We religiously read articles about how to improve our workouts and we diligently show up and sweat it out at the gym every day.  

You don’t have to be a scientist to know that a regular fitness program will help slow down the aging process and will promote healthy skin, joint, muscles, body and overall well being.  However, what if there were some bad habits in your routine that were actually reversing the effects of your good intentions and actually causing you to age faster, not slower.  

Reevaluate your workout schedule and see if you are doing any of the 5 mistakes that are actually working against you during your sweat sessions.  We’ve even given you some tips on how to fix them.  

Mistake #1

Not Wearing Sunscreen

Research proves just how bad the sun's rays are to our skin.  You are only a quick Google search away from learning how fast it can age your skin.  How many of us actually take measures to prevent sun exposure?  Not many.

If you are prone to working-out outside, running outside or even just going for a stroll you should be conscious about wearing sun protection.  Even just sunscreen might not be good enough, you have to make sure it’s water-resistant while you are sweating.   Monica Tadros, MD, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and reconstructive surgeon says, “This is especially critical when we sweat off sunscreen that is not water-resistant during the hot summer months.”

Cold weather has its effects too.  Monica adds, “In the winter, harsh winds can be drying to facial skin and nosebleeds are not uncommon from the lack of humidity. Abrupt temperature changes in the air we breathe from indoor heat and outdoor cold are another factor.”

The Fix:

Simple. Applying water-resistant sunscreen each time you head out is a must—even if it’s not sunny and it’s cold out. When it’s cold, put on moisturizer to prevent chapping and cracking skin in the dry air.  

We know exercise outside has many anti-aging benefits. Sun exposure helps us get a healthy dose of vitamin D, clear our minds, and relax.  But always layer up and put on the right kind of protection to keep your skin and face young looking!

Mistake #2

Skipping Strength Training

Cardio seems to take all the credit as the big fat burner and belly buster that will keep your heart young and pumping great.  We make the mistake of thinking if we can just run mile after mile, we will stay young and fit.  But the reality is cardio is good but strength training is a must.  

As we age, we lose muscle mass and the ability to gain muscle slows down.  By doing only cardio you speed up this process.  WIthout hitting the weights, you are not giving your muscles a chance to build back up to support your aging joints and ligaments.  Only doing high-intensity or cardio-based workouts can wreak havoc on your muscles and joints because you are not allowing for balance with any strength training.

The Fix:

Learn to love strength training.

If you don’t already #liftheavy then it’s never too late to start.  The best way to introduce weight training into your routine is slowly but surely.  You don’t have to go headlong into the full body intense bodybuilding workouts, but start with two days a week and go from there.  

Remember that your energy pool is limited so the ideal strength training session for a beginner would potentially look like a 30-minute strength training session followed by a 20-minute cardio session.  Then allow for rest on the following day or even a light cardio session to continue your routine and build up your days from there.  

Mistake #3

Eliminating Rest Day

We often make the mistake of thinking the more we exercise the better but that is not always the case.  Not resting is a critical mistake in our overall wellness. Whenever you workout your muscles are broken down and stressed to cause growth and gain.  This is what we like about exercising!  But it’s during the resting phase that they are then rebuilt and given the chance to defuse the lactic acids that were built up during exercise.  

When you don’t schedule in a rest day for your body to recover, over time you may have side effects such as muscle overuse, injuries, stress fractures, changes in normal eating behaviors, and burnout.

The Fix

Rest Day is a Must

There are no official guidelines that determine how many days a week you should rest in between workouts.  We suggest including at least one day a week in your schedule when you do not participate in high energy strength training.  You can still do mild cardio like a walk or short jog on these days, but keep it to a minimum.  But at least one full day of rest is a must to get your body recover from the work you put in the rest of the week.  

Mistake #4

Pushing Too Hard

Overstressing your body can cause wear and tear on the precious cartilage supports in your joints causing that aching aging feeling sooner rather than later.  By not knowing your limits, over working joints can lead to injury.  Over extending the body and without enough fuel and energy can divert nutrients to critical areas of the body and decrease the body's own rejuvenation potential, causing the skin to age prematurely. ( According to Dr. Monica Tadros)

The Fix:

Listen to your body.  

You don’t have to slack off in your workout, but it’s okay to lower your intensity once or twice a week.  Routine exercise is one of the best anti-aging remedies so sweating and moderate Cardio sessions are natural ways to clean our system of toxins and decrease inflammation.  So, while strength training and pushing yourself to your limits has its place, it’s best to mix it up with some lighter workouts too.

Mistake #5

Skipping Mobility Work

If you are skipping your stretches or foam roller sessions you are hindering your body’s growth rather than helping it.  By doing mobility work you allow the muscles to stretch out, move more fluidly, prevent tightness and injury.  These exercises will give you a better quality of movement now so you can actually workout better when you are at the gym.  And it goes without saying, if you strengthen and stretch now, as you get older, you’ll be ahead of the game.

The Fix:

Stretch it out.

Stretch daily to prevent tightness, decrease soreness and speed up recovery.  You can incorporate mobility sessions in the morning before coffee or at night before bed but always dedicate 5-10 minutes a day to stretching and lengthening your muscles.

 And of course, you should always correctly stretch before your workout and cool down properly after.  Invest in some resistance bands to help you pull the muscle or a foam roller to help roll out deep muscle tension.  

It’s never too late to start working on your fitness routine.  But if you’ve been a dedicated gym rat for years, perhaps you have picked up a few of these bad habits in your routine.  If you have, take this week to remedy them and pass it on to any of your gym buddies who might be making the same mistakes.  After all, you want to be there together hitting the weights for decades to come.

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