If you’re considering beginning a new fitness routine, but are a bit hesitant, you’re not alone. There are several common barriers that prevent people from getting started. One of them, according to the CDC, is fear of injury. 

So, we’ve rounded up some of the most common errors that can lead to getting hurt – along with how to prevent them – whether you’re into strength training, running, or some other pursuit. 

Get ready to boost your confidence and avoid getting sidelined at the outset of your fitness adventure!

The mistake #1: Skipping your warm-up

Without warming up your muscles and tendons and getting your blood flowing, you’re more likely to strain something than you would be otherwise. Plus, you won’t get the most out of your workout as you won’t be as primed. 

The fix: Do a short dynamic warm-up before every workout

The good news about warm-ups is that they don’t need to be super long (five minutes is plenty!). Try this 4-move energizing warm-up routine.

Pro tip: Looking for an extra pre-workout energy boost? Try Energy Mab Sticks for a clean pick-me-up.

The mistake #2: Focusing on quantity over quality

Beginners sometimes want to go as hard or fast as they can when they start working out. They might reach for the heaviest set of weights they can stand or go overboard with more repetitions than they really need to do. It’s great to challenge yourself, but if you don’t have your form down yet and you’re overdoing it, you’re more likely to get injured right out of the gate. 

The fix: Nail your form first

When you’re doing a new strength training exercise, grab a set of weights (or for a bodyweight movement, do a number of repetitions) that feels manageable. Focus on the tempo of your exercise and squeezing the muscles being worked throughout. For example, with the squat, try 4 seconds down, 0 at the bottom, 2 seconds back to the top, repeat. 

The mistake #3: Piling on the reps, weight, or miles too soon

Similarly, trying to progress in your workouts too quickly is a recipe for injury. Think: “Slow and steady wins the race” when it comes to achieving any fitness goal.

The fix: Try progressive overload

Simply put, this means you make your sessions a little bit harder week after week. By gradually increasing the stress you put on your body, you’ll get stronger and faster over time. The time-tested advice for running is to add 10% to your mileage each week. With strength training, you could start with three sets of each exercise in your first week of training and work towards four to five sets by week four.

The mistake #4: Neglecting recovery

Just as your warm-up prepares your body for the work ahead, a cool-down helps your muscles recover so you can come back faster—and sooner—next time. 

The fix: Spend at least 5 minutes cooling down

While dynamic stretches are key for your warm-up, you can get away with static ones for the cool-down. Spend at least five minutes minimum on moves like Bretzel and Pigeon Pose. Hold each one for 15 to 60 seconds. You can also try this foam rolling routine

Pro tip: To amp up your recovery, try Mab & Stoke’s Recovery Cream after you work out or whenever you need relief from aches and soreness.