New Year, New You!
Dr. Tara Brown, (Hon) BA Kin, DC, ART®, D. Ac - Doctor of Chiropractic
It’s a new year and once again you have set goals to lose weight, get fit and be healthy! This is probably one of the most popular resolutions people make entering into a new year. It is no surprise, since regular exercise and healthy living have so many known benefits. It can increase your strength and endurance, manage your weight, prevent various diseases, improve your mental health, decrease risk of falls and lower your risk of developing dementia.
But, if not done correctly, ramping up and starting new fitness goals can lead to injury. Most of the time these injuries are unavoidable and are due to doing something too much, too fast and potentially using poor technique.
Here are some tips adapted from an article by Laura Lundquist in The Chronicle Herald, to help you stay injury-free as you start your 2019 fitness goals.
1. Professional help making a plan: if you want to try something new, it is best to consult a professional first. Chiropractors, physiotherapists or personal trainers can provide movement screens, take into consideration any of your health concerns, talk about your goals and guide you to choose appropriate exercises or classes to start your fitness journey.
2. Start half way: naturally, many of us start new routines too quickly. We end up doing too much, too fast because we like the immediate feeling of hard work, but unfortunately this can lead to injury. Start slow (about half of what you think you can do) and progress from there.
3. Increase by no more than 10%: increase each week by no more than 10% per week in any type of exercise you embark on. With weight lifting, this would apply to the amount of weight you are lifting. If you are doing cardio (running, cycling, etc.), this may apply to the length or intensity of the workout.
4. Switch up your routine: if you lift weights working on the upper body one day, work on the lower body the next. Or lift weights one day and try running the next. It is best to switch up workouts to allow muscles to recover. Not giving your muscles enough rest can actually cause muscle break down, potentially leading to injury, instead of making them stronger.
5. Listen to your body: if you are tired or too sore, don’t push yourself to workout that day. Give yourself a day of rest. Furthermore, exercise should not cause pain. Yes, some achiness in muscles is normal but pain in joints or muscles during or following a workout is not. Seek care from a health-care practitioner if any pain occurs to ensure it is nothing serious and perhaps a simple change to your routine/technique is all that is needed.