If you’re one of those people who have set a 2014 goal to start a new workout plan, especially if you haven’t worked out in a very long time, here’s a tip that can help. Don’t get in the gym and act all like he-man. Yes, you want to put forth a great effort. But if you do too much too soon too hard, you could hurt yourself. It’s quite common for those who haven’t worked out in a long time — or never before — to injure themselves because they usually go too hard and overdo it or do things incorrectly. Most people like this who hurt themselves tend to stop working out and don’t go back, derailing their goals long before they really get going.
People hurt themselves in a variety of ways, especially novices who may exercise incorrectly. Common injuries include knee injuries, muscle strains or sprains, shin splints, or tendinitis. To minimize your injuries, here are my top three suggestions.
+ The first and most important thing is, listen to your body. The old adage “no pain no gain” is misleading. Pain and muscle soreness are two entirely different things. Learn to distinguish between the two. If you feel pain, stop what you’re doing immediately. Continuing to push yourself when you feel pain could seriously risk causing an injury.
+ Take it slow. I like to encourage people to do it like the tortoise. If you remember the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the tortoise took his time, slow and steady. The hare took off quickly at full speed. The tortoise proved to be the better strategist. Your fitness goals are the same way. Take it slow and steady.
+ Cross Train. Cross training is a good way to help you vary your routine. This means different things to different people. To some, cross training may mean following a circuit on a given day, doing a variety of different types of exercises and activities – one after the next – during a workout routine. To others, it can mean doing only certain types of exercises on a particular day, such as cardio on one day and strength training on the next. It also can mean alternating your routine by its intensity, doing a light workout on one day and a heavy one on the next. Repeating the same things over and over again the same way over and over again increases the likelihood for an injury if your body isn’t used too exercising.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers some nice tips for many different exercises and activities to help prevent the likelihood of injury. Don’t get hurt. Plan, read, and ask for help. A personal trainer is a worthwhile investment if you don’t know what you’re doing, even if you only pay for a few sessions. Start your fitness regimen off right to maximize your progress. Good Luck!