Warning: This workout may cause harm

Discover why these five current workout trends could be damaging your body

We all know that we should exercise. Regular exercise equals a healthy mind and body; this equation is drilled into the back of most peoples’ minds nowadays. To achieve maximum results and avoid loss of interest we are regularly encouraged to seek variety when it comes to exercise and try out new trends. Shockingly, some of the biggest exercise trends of the moment could actually be damaging your body and putting you at risk.

Hot Yoga
Hot yoga or bikram yoga, is yoga which takes place in a heated studio (usually around 40˚C) and combines yoga stretching and toning with a cardiovascular workout. The hot temperatures force the body to work harder and burn more calories than in a regular yoga workout, or so the theory goes. Synonymous with Gwyneth Paltrow and sweaty, svelte fashionable types, hot yoga has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Aside from the obvious dangers of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, hot yoga also encourages people to unknowingly place excessive strain on their joints. The heated environment speeds up the heart rate, boosting circulation and causing muscles to relax and loosen. Feeling more limber than you actually are, you risk pushing your joints beyond their natural limits, resulting in joint and tissue damage such as ligament tears and eroded cartilage. Knee damage is a significant risk, particularly when it comes to poses such as virasana, where the knees are already in a compromised position.

Boot Camp Workouts
No pain no gain is a motto that many fitness fans swear by and one that boot camp enthusiasts embrace wholeheartedly, in boot camp style workouts which push participants to the limit. The recent boot camp craze is definitely not suitable for everyone and you may find yourself suffering from pain of the wrong kind if you don’t take heed of this warning. Boot camp workouts are a good way to motivate the already fit to get super fit. If you have not exercised for a while or are used to doing light exercise once or twice a week, do not plunge head first into a boot camp style session. Not only are boot camp workouts extreme and physically exhausting, the repetitive movements can be tough on the joints. If you have had previous joint concerns or are overweight this style of class is best avoided until you have built up your fitness levels.

Barefoot Running
Want to run free down the beach with the sand in your toes and wind in your hair? Barefoot running may seem like an idyllic au-naturel approach to cardio but in reality it’s just not a very good idea for most people. Common injuries caused by barefoot running include Achilles tendon tear and calf strain. As we are used to wearing cushioned shoes our bodies and in particular our feet are ill-equipped to deal with running barefoot. Weak, stiff ankle joints and barefoot running are not a good combination. The high impact of barefoot running can cause damage to the bones in the feet, not to mention heel pain and increased risk of plantar fasciitis. If you want to take advantage of the potential benefits of running barefoot, you could try barefoot-inspired footwear.

Abs Classes
Abs classes are a simple way to tone up your midriff and are on offer in many gyms. Around 80% of the population will see a doctor or chiropractor at some point due to back pain. With this in mind abs classes are definitely not the best option for everyone, and are especially problematic for those with back problems. Repetitive crunches are hard on the neck and the spine and place stress and prolonged pressure on the back, which can lead to back problems developing. Pilates is a great alternative for core strengthening and toning.

CrossFit
CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program used by many police academies, military special operations units, champion martial artists and professional athletes. Over the last few years it has also become popular in gyms around the world. Essentially it is a high intensity fitness program that combines a variety of movements into a timed or scored session. It can include weightlifting, squats, pull-ups, push-ups, gymnastics, rowing and running. CrossFit is based on repetition that has been criticised and is unsuitable for older people or those with vulnerable joints.

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