‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Topping the list year after year is (you guessed it) getting healthy. While a clean-slate perspective can do wonders for your motivation, being too eager will backfire if it leads to injury. Overdoing it in the name of fitness is a recipe for chronic pain—something that’ll surely throw a wrench in your exercise plans.
The idea is to strike a balance between pushing yourself and staying safe. Begin by setting realistic, attainable goals. (Becoming a marathon runner doesn’t happen overnight, after all.) Set yourself up for success by creating practical, bite-sized milestones, then celebrate your wins before looking toward the next benchmark. Whether your goal is to up your long-distance running game, lose 30 pounds, or improve your heart health, it’s all about baby steps.
That said, here are a few ways to keep an exercise injury at bay.
How to Stay Safe While Lifting Weights
- Always warm up and cool down.
- Proper form, not weight, is what matters most.
- Take your time during reps; don’t rush it.
- Inhale as you release; exhale as you push against resistance.
- Increase weight/resistance gradually.
- Don’t overdo it. Aim to work major muscles two to three times a week.
- Take time off to rest and heal.
Taking Up Running Without Injury
Slow and steady wins the race here. (No pun intended.) Runner’s World suggests beginning with walks, then slowly introducing runs in between. Instead of jumping in with a grueling training schedule, the best strategy is to start small and gradually increase your running time. You’ll also want to invest in a good pair of running shoes to prevent an injury.
Jump In the Right Way
Preventing an injury may mean consulting a trainer who can safely guide you in hitting your goals. Case in point: Taking up a YouTube yoga practice can be dangerous for a newbie who doesn’t understand the importance of bringing proper technique and alignment to the mat. Whether it’s kickboxing or weightlifting, seeking some professional guidance can be a worthwhile investment.
Regardless of the type of exercise you’re into, be sure to listen to your body. For example, feeling a burn in your quadriceps while squatting is quite different from sharp joint pain. If you experience anything that feels like it’s too much, back off and consult a pro before moving forward. Knowing when to stop can be the best prevention.
If you’ve already experienced an exercise injury, Pain Stop North Phoenix can help you get back to the active lifestyle you love. Our trained, experienced pain management experts provide one-on-one consultations, free of charge, so you can do just that.