A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

3 unsafe fitness trends

With the popularity of TikTok, people have access to quick videos for dance moves, cooking and cute cats, to name a few. However, what about health and fitness advice? New viral health trends are posted almost weekly on the social media app.

Are these trends safe for you to try at home?

woman stretching before workout with the latest health trend

If you need recommendations for a new workout, talk to your provider, physical therapist or athletic trainer.

Brent Amble, Ph.D., athletic trainer for Marshfield Clinic Health System, discusses what fitness trends you may want to stay away from before trying.

Extreme exercise

Although staying active is an essential to your health, it’s important to exercise at your personal level. A TikTok trend like “12-3-30 work,” which involves raising your treadmill’s incline level to 12% and pace to 3 mph, and then walking for 30 minutes, may be too extreme.

Amble recommends starting gradually, and consulting with a health care professional before starting a new workout program.

“Every person is different,” he said. “Programs should include warm up, rest time and cross training –Training with a few different types of exercise, movement or modalities.”

Other trends to lose weight like hot yoga or wearing multiple layers of clothing to sweat more also can be dangerous.

“Wearing a sweat suit while exercising could cause dehydration or possible heat stroke,” Amble said.

Dry scooping before workouts

Additionally, Amble mentions that it is dangerous to use energy drinks to exercise.

A trend on TikTok called “dry scooping” has similar negative health effects. Dry scooping is taking in a scoop of pre-workout powder prior to your workout. Traditionally, pre-workout is added to water and consumed a half hour before a workout.

By taking the scoop dry, you are absorbing the caffeine and other stimulants faster than diluting with water.

According to a study presented at the 2021 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition, “the highly concentrated powder can lead to choking, accidental inhalation, overconsumption, injury and death.” This study was focused on how pre-work became increasingly popular among teens after this trend was on TikTok.

Too much weight

Weight lifting has become more popular with trending videos providing tips and tricks in the gym. Amble encourages lifting weights. However, too much weight or not enough range of motion in a joint or flexibility can lead to injury.

He also mentioned improper squatting can cause stress on your back or legs if not done properly.

Common injuries with improper exercise include stress fractures, back pain and muscle strains.

“It’s more important to have a good starting point and continue to improve your strength and mobility,” Amble said.

Safe exercise

As Amble recommended, talk to your provider before starting a new workout routine.

Sports medicine providers, athletic trainers and physical therapists are great sources to recommend an exercise program, or give you advice on movement and mobility that work for you.

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