There’s something about the calendar turning over into a new year that’s so invigorating. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start. With a fresh start comes goals and resolutions to grow and better yourself. If your new year’s resolutions are tied to fitness goals, weight loss, and/or starting a new exercise routine, it’s important that you do so in a safe and healthful manner. Here are some tips to help set you up for a successful and healthful new year!
Figure out your why:
It seems simple enough, but digging deep and identifying why you’re really setting this New Year Resolution is an important place to start. Is your resolution to lose weight? Why? So you can fit in your clothes comfortably? Why? So you have more confidence day-to-day? Why? So you can set a good example for your kids? Why? … you get the idea. Really try and narrow it down. Your true why will come in handy a couple of months down the road when the shininess of the new year has worn off and/or you hit a plateau.
Focus on performance, not weight loss:
Any fitness goal you have should be performance-oriented and written in a way that provides specific ways that you intend to achieve that goal (like the SMART goals format). This makes it so that no matter what happens with your weight, you’re improving some aspect of your physical health.
Not all exercise is created equal:
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends for cardio exercise you should be doing 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, or some mix of the two. The idea here is that 1 minute of vigorous exercise is worth 2 minutes of moderate exercise. So if you did 30 minutes of vigorous exercise, you’d need another 90 minutes in the week of moderate exercise to reach your 150 minute total.
For the more goal-driven crowd, a pedal-to-the-metal approach to fitness can seem the quickest and most efficient way to better health. However, it’s critical workout intensity and length remain in line with one’s current fitness levels and limits. It’s also important to schedule recovery, or off-days, into your routine. Failing to do so can increase your injury risk as well as the risk of burnout.
Strive for a well-rounded routine:
“Training diversification” will help maximize your workout potential while helping to prevent overuse injuries and burnout. Whether it’s because some are concerned about too much “bulking up” or they feel spending their limited time on ellipticals and stationary bikes will maximize their efforts, cardio is often a focus for those seeking to improve health. It shouldn’t be the only focus, however. Muscular fitness is just as important as cardio for such issues as weight management, bone health, injury prevention, and so on.
When starting a new fitness routine, you will inevitably end up sore. Some think that rest is best when this happens. Wrong! While rest has a long history as a go-to response to soreness, pain, and injury, research now suggests movement and “active recovery” can actually speed up the healing process, specifically when guided by a physical therapist.
No matter what your health, wellness, weight loss, and fitness goals are for the new year, we are here to help! Follow us on Facebook for exercise tips and workouts from our skilled physical therapists.
***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice. Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.