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Most people work out to look good, get stronger and feel better, but what you may not realize is that some exercise and workouts, however well-intended, may actually be aging you more than you know. So whether you’re out there to shed some pounds, perk up those pecs or tighten that ass, here are some of the exercises that tend to age people, many of which include bad form, sporadic routine and under and overdoing certain types of workouts. However you exercise, do it right so you don’t age like a rusty, old barbell.

Poor Sportswear
exercises that age you
Before you even start your workout, you might be shooting yourself in the foot, almost quite literally —we love to say “literally” — with your workout ensemble. A person’s shoes when they exercise is a crucial workout necessity. It’s important to be comfortable and leave baggy clothing that may interfere with your workout behind, but the shoes are the most crucial part. Solid foot support, whether it be in your arches or ankles, is necessary to keep you from injury and strains. If you strain your feet, you’re screwing up your workout. In other words, leave the cargo shorts and Chuck Taylors where they belong—in 1995. When it comes to footwear, if you pay less, you actually pay more. Beat that, Don Draper.

Bad Form, Peter
exercises that age you
Poor posture has been and always will be one of the leading causes of injury, strain and fruitless workout. You may think you know what you’re doing based on going to one yoga class or watching workout tapes — yes, we know you still use that VHS collection of yours — but it only take a small misstep or single wrong bend on a routine basis to cause back problems, strains and a progressive handicap vibe in your stance. Between that and sitting awkwardly at your work desk, you could be in a wheelchair by the time you’re 40 with no previous medical conditions.

Burning Stress Only on a Bike
exercises that age you
Spinning is specifically great for burning off stress in that head-down, fixed position we all can easily get used to, but burning stress in that manner alone only works a small amount of the body. Whereas, conversely, something such as yoga works the whole body, increases the blood flow throughout, decreases inflammation and eases stress better than just cycling. It also helps keep the skin looking young and vibrant. Don’t you want to know more about the perks of yoga? Jumping rope and jogging on some fresh pavement will help as well.

Low on Hydration
exercises that age you
It’s easy to get carried away with your workout and forget to keep the water coming. People don’t always remember the importance of hydration, but aside from heat exhaustion and extreme dehydration, water keeps your skin looking well-nourished. If you’re lacking in alkaline, as well, your body can feel stressed, deprived and imbalanced. Adding a little lemon wedge to your water can take you a long ways with that, or you can just buy alkalized water, which has a higher pH and is said to help in preventing aging within your bones, teeth, hair and skin. So keep that gullet of yours wet while you work out.

Not Breaking Enough
exercises that age you
When summer is in style, that’s a time when fitness junkies, and people in general, feel especially eager to break in the body and get serious about the business of working out, sometimes a little too much so. Not breaking enough between workouts fails to give your body enough to heal. Instead it continually breaks you down, which gets you rundown, chronically exhausted and ruins your sleep. This tends to lead to bigger problems, such as injury, increased resting heart rate and saggy bags under those previously pretty eyes. You’ll be ten years older in no time. It takes someone in their forties twice as long to heal as someone in their twenties, so keep that in mind the next time you’re trying to look 25 again.

Especially when you’re strained or dealing with injury, you have to learn to break between workouts, or if you’re set on working out each day, switch up the kind of workout instead of continually pounding away on the same muscles each day. Rest one full day each week and give yourself a chance to catch your breath and operate at a regular heart rate for a bit.

Breaking Too Much Between Workout Days
exercises that age you
Just the opposite, taking your time to get back into the gym or into your routine while your muscles heal actually causes problems, too. There may be a “Simpsons” marathon on or a marathon of cheesy, couch-loving sabbaticals, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you give in for too long. You’re giving your body a chance to rebuild some of the bad muscle and gain back any calories you may have lost. Keeping a steady routine, whether it’s sleep, eating or workout related, helps your body to know what to expect, Otherwise, it’s a constant disarray of shock, unexpected intensity and low-level laziness, none of which keep you regular and only age you more. Rest one full day each week, not six.

Never Easing In or Out of Workout Routines
exercises that age you
Whenever you put the pedal to the metal, it’s best if you start with a light stretch to ease yourself in, just five or ten minutes’ worth. Anybody who’s ever worked out knows you can save yourself strain, pain and injury if you get a good stretch in for the muscles you’re about to work. The thing a lot of people fail to do is to ease out of the workout. When they’re exhausted or pushing themselves as hard as they can to the very end, it doesn’t give the heart rate a chance to slowly ease itself back to regular pace. This causes the heart rate to stay up after the workout and continue into other activities. A cooling down period tells the body the workout is done. Skipping that important step will only screw with your sleep, like eating a chocolate bar before bed or any other of the worst foods to eat before bed.

Too Much High-Intensity Workout
exercises that age you
This form of workout seems appropriate for the fast-paced, ‘I don’t have enough time for this shit’ lifestyle, but high-intensity workouts come with a price when you don’t incorporate more cardio. Crossfit, P90X and other intense workouts may burn more calories and get your body where you want it faster, but it also tears at the muscles harder and can lead to more serious internal injury, especially if you’re not hydrated enough. It’s better to mix up the workouts and not be impatient or greedy. You may look good now, but you’re setting yourself up to be old and broken earlier than you’d like. Give yourself a day or two to recoup from the intense workouts and do some stretching or low-impact exercise. Keep it even, Steven.

Too Much Weight Much Too Fast
exercises that age you
Piggybacking off high-intensity workouts and impatience, people like to see themselves progress quickly in their workouts, or worse, keep up with other people, especially when it comes to the amount of weight they can handle. Whether barbells, kettle bells or jingle bells, it’s important to know what you can handle, work with it for awhile and not push yourself too fast. Life is long and painful enough, no need to rush your weight progression in your workouts, causing more pain than necessary and possible slipping a disc or busting a hip. That’s right, old man, people still bust their hips. Work with a trainer or someone who knows what they’re doing if you’re not sure what you can handle. Less is more, if you’re uncertain.

Too Much Cardio
exercises that age you
It may not age you as much as some of the others, but strictly working out cardio-style will burn fewer calories and help less with muscle tone. If you want to stay in shape and keep looking young, try incorporating more strength workouts, which will help keep the body-fat percentage down, your body looking lean and hold some steady muscle as your body tries to shed it with aging. It’s like my mother always said: You can polish a turd, but it’s still a piece of shit.

10 WAYS THAT EXERCISING CAN ACTUALLY AGE YOU

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