So you’re all set to start working out and building a new, healthier you. Congratulations! But hold on a second. Barreling head-first into a new workout program without following certain steps can cause you to actually hurt yourself, which, in turn, can delay your ability to get fit.
Our best advice is to follow a few tips we’ve developed to help you on your way to better health.
- See your doctor, first. You’ll want to have a thorough physical exam before you start working out. You’ll be placing new stress on your joints and your cardiovascular system, so you’ll want to be sure you don’t have any underlying health problems that could cause you to injure yourself when exercising.
- Take time to warm up. Never jump into exercising without stretching and warming up your muscles. Even professional athletes know how important that pre-workout warm-up time is! Do a little stretching, walk on the treadmill, or do some very light weight lifting before diving into the tough stuff. A few minutes spent this way upfront can help you avoid strains, ruptures, joint injuries and
- Easy does it. It seems most people think they are in better shape than they are, and this is
one wayinjuries occur. At least one expert offers this advice: “Whatever you think you should be doing, dial it down a notch.” Start off easy, with moderate exercise for around 20 minutes a few times a week. Then gradually build up to longer workout periods and harder exercise. Otherwiseyou could easily suffer injuries like shin splints, tendinitis, knee injuries, and more
- Know your limits. Don’t believe in the mantra of “no pain, no gain.” While you want to push yourself a bit, your body will let you know when you’re doing too much by either causing you pain or tiring you out. You’ll especially know you’ve overdone it if you “hit the wall”—when your body simply stops cooperating altogether in the middle of your workout. You might feel faint or dizzy. You may actually fall down when you try to walk. If this happens, stop what you’re doing immediately and rest and rehydrate.
- Work with a trainer. Starting a new exercise program or taking it to the next level can be more effective and safer if you work with a personal trainer or coach. They can provide you with safety tips and help you progress properly so you don’t overdo it or injure yourself.
- Be age-conscious. Some of us just aren’t 19 anymore… even though we may think we feel like we are. But be careful – this attitude can make you do too much, too soon, for too long, with the result being an injury.
- Schedule adequate recovery time. Allow at least a day in between each workout, especially in the beginning. Your body needs time to adjust to the new activity. As your body adapts and you increase your exercise schedule, set aside a couple of days a week for lighter workouts, or to skip working out entirely. The rest allows your muscles to heal properly and strengthen, which can prevent injuries to joints and aggravation of conditions like arthritis or bursitis.
Following these simple tips can help you avoid a world of hurt whether you’re starting a new fitness program or kicking it up a notch. But if you should experience an injury, contact the sport medicine and orthopedic experts at Coastal Orthopedics right away. Call us at 941-792-1404 or request an appointment here.