2022 is right around the corner and people are starting to plan their New Year's resolutions. A common resolution is going to the gym, exercising more or losing weight. Sticking to a new workout plan requires not just discipline and hard work, but also knowledge and awareness of injury risks, especially if you’re a newcomer. Luckily, Dr. Bones and Tri Rivers physicians have some tips for you to remain healthy in the new year:
1. Proper warmup
The importance of warm-up exercises should be considered by anyone who works out! By doing proper warm-ups you will help increase your body and muscle temperature, reduce the risk of injury, increase your flexibility and mentally prepare yourself for the exercises you're about to do. At this point, you'll be ready to operate any of the heavy duty machines at the gym.
Popular warm-up exercises include things like jogging in place and static stretching.
The workout begins before you even hit the gym. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day. Post-recovery drinks are a good choice once your workout is complete.
2. Don’t overexert yourself.
Don’t play through the pain. If an activity during your workout starts to feel uncomfortable or painful, stop right away. Continuing the workout could lead to injury.
Overexertion can occur when you push your body beyond its limits; overexertion can cause inflammation, which leads to pain, discomfort and tearing of muscles, ligaments and tendons. If you ever feel dizzy or too hot, have a high pulse rate, or have chest pain, stop immediately and take a break.
To prevent overexertion, be sure to warm up properly, take small breaks and lift weights properly. If unsure how to use a piece of equipment, don't be afraid to ask for help!
3. Build your workout around your strengths.
Know your body. For example, high-impact exercises aren’t appropriate for women with arthritis or osteoporosis. Instead, try a non-impact activity like swimming.
4. What you wear matters – especially on your feet.
If you don’t already have them, buy a pair of comfortable sneakers that provide good support. Shoes should provide proper support for the intended exercise and be in good condition. Use cushioned running shoes for cardio and cross-trainers - with decent stability - for strength training. Be sure to consider the instep, toe depth and heel width.
5. Options other than the gym
Not everyone has to hit the gym when they exercise! There are a lot of alternatives. For example, walking is an excellent option, especially for elderly people. Talk a walk around the block, visit a local park, or try hiking in a local nature preserve of state park if you live near one.
Dancing is also an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise. You burn calories and work muscles throughout your body while having fun! Try ballet, swing or ballroom dancing - you'll have a social atmosphere to fit and active!
If all else fails, you can always squeeze in a quick workout right in your own home! You can do anything from jumping jacks to sit ups.