Tips to Stay Safe as You Begin Those New Year’s ResolutionsClinical Expertise
by Tava Buck, PT, DPT, OCS Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist | Jan 12, 2017
Happy New Year!
With the new year comes new hopes, new adventures, and of course, new resolutions. One of the most common resolutions is to lose weight and improve overall health. Gym memberships skyrocket in the first few weeks of the new year. Losing weight and improving your health is a great goal, and very obtainable, however, it’s important to do so safely.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Losing weight and improving health are not simple, quick fixes. If you are new to the gym, start slow and allow for your body to get accustomed to the new demands you are placing upon yourself. If you start working out for too long or too hard each session, then you may become burnt out, and fall off of your plan. Plan to attend the gym a few times a week, and increase your attendance as you become more comfortable with your workout schedule. A reasonable schedule of attending the gym 2-4 times a week is obtainable without feeling like an obligation and allows a few days for your body to recover from your workouts.
Take advantage of new membership perks
Many gyms will provide a free health assessment or free session with a personal trainer to new members. Participating in perks like these will help to increase your baseline knowledge of how to improve your health and fitness. They will also help to get you oriented to the gym layout and exercise equipment setup.
Form is everything
While exercising you want to pay close attention to your form. Your form will start to fail if you are pushing past your cardiovascular or muscular capacity. If you notice that your movements start to look sloppy or you start to compensate with muscles other than the ones you are targeting, then stop that exercise for the day. Form is more important than trying to meet certain weight, number of sets or time duration on a cardio machine. If you use poor form while exercising you are putting yourself at risk for injury. If you are unfamiliar with a machine or piece of equipment, ask gym staff for guidance.
Find a workout partner
Finding a workout partner helps to keep you motivated and keeps you accountable to continue with your gym schedule. Remember though, you are not competing against each other. You both can perform the same exercise, but there’s no need feel obligated to use the same weights or perform the exercise for the same amount of time or repetitions. Remember, form is everything!
See a physical therapist if you develop an ache or pain with your new workout plan
Physical therapists are highly skilled to help you achieve your highest level of function. If you develop or exacerbate an ache/pain while in the gym, you can see a physical therapist to assess your injury. After assessment, you and your physical therapist will develop a personalized plan to decrease your pain, and get you back on track to achieve your goals. Many insurance plans no longer require a physician’s referral to see a physical therapist – contact your local Brooks Rehabilitation to learn more. Also, you can visit the Brooks Rehabilitation clinics within the Winston Family YMCA or the Brooks Family YMCA for a free screening to determine if you are appropriate for physical therapy. Also, feel free to stop in if you simply have questions about how to make the most out of your workout.
Here’s to a happy and HEALTHY new year!