With the New Year upon us, many people are faced with their resolution: weight loss, one made by millions each year. Not sure of where or how to start, many jump into an extreme – like boot camps – exercise program January 1, and after months of an inactive lifestyle. This is when injuries occur. DMOS physical therapist, Ginni Peterson advises how to keep you safe and help you stay committed to your New Year resolution.
Buy new shoes.
If your shoes have been sitting in your closet for the past three years collecting dust, there is a good chance they no longer provide the cushion or support you need. Peterson recommends replacing your shoes when there is noticeable wear and tear or every 300 to 500 miles depending on your weight and activity level. An hour-long exercise is the equivalent to 4 to 5 miles.
“Don’t buy shoes based on fashion styles or your favorite colors. Purchase a shoe that fits your foot and provides the appropriate support,” said Peterson. “For example, if you have a wide forefoot, do not buy a narrow shoe.”
Don’t wait until January 1 to start moving.
As you start – or return – to classes, it is best to begin doing basic exercises, as soon as possible, to prepare your body for the class you signed up for. The desire to hit the gym hard to meet your resolution only increases your risk of injury and likelihood to give up on your resolution. By starting slow and increasing your activity as your strength increases, it provides a safer environment and lowers your risk of injury.
Peterson suggests prepping for the class by incorporating small workouts into your day starting in December. For example, after you brush your teeth, do 20 pushups from the bathroom counter. While at work, stand up and sit down for your office chair 20 times and if you walk to the printer do heel raises while you are standing and waiting. During your lunch take a 15-minute walk and try to use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Take it easy when you first begin in January.
Whether you are starting a class or joining a gym in January, do not try to keep up with the veterans who have been working out for months or years. Begin with light weights and resistance and take breaks when you need them. If you are in a class you may feel pressure to keep up however as your body tires you begin using bad form and are more likely to injure yourself. Some gyms offer “Smart Start” classes, where you start with only half the class and continue to increase how long you stay with each class.
Peterson said most of her patients say they knew they should have stopped, but in a workout class environment, it is hard to.
Stretch at the end.
Do not skip stretching at the end of a class or a workout. A five-minute stretch when your muscles are still warmed up will help prevent injury and reduce soreness.
Take care of your body – hydrate!
A person should drink half of their body weight in ounces of water per day. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces of water.
Along with hydration, it is also important to eat a healthy well-rounded diet, and most importantly, get plenty of sleep. There is an abundance of research showing the benefits of getting at least seven hours of sleep.