Where to start?
It’s the beginning of a new year! It’s time to set new goals, make a plan to meet them, and then go after them. If any of these goals involve increasing your physical activity or continuing an established physical routine, there are several things to keep in mind. The first is, are you safe to begin physical activity. If you have had a major illness or injury in the past year, you should get clearance from a medical professional before starting regular physical activity. Do you have a nagging ache or pain, that you are worried will worsen with activity? Getting an evaluation from a physical therapist to identify specific deficits and make a personalized plan for you could be the answer!
Things to consider.
Before starting physical activity, it is important to warm-up the body properly. This can be done with active stretching. By making stretches active, you begin to promote motor memory to the muscle, which in turn allows for proper functioning of the muscle during exercise. It is vital to stretch the areas that you are going to be working. So lower extremities, for leg work-outs, and upper extremities for arm work-outs. It does not hurt, however, to stretch both areas, even if you aren’t working those areas out on a particular day. Below are some pictures of basic stretches for the upper and lower body.
Another thing to keep in mind when beginning a new physical activity is moderation. For example, if you haven’t been doing a certain exercise or activity in awhile or ever, do just 10-20 minutes to start. Then, build onto your time as your body gets used to it. Don’t add a lot of new activities all at once, if something bothers you, then you won’t know which thing caused the issue. Start with one or two things and add more on each day or week. Start with low weights or repetitions and increase slowly. This way, you don’t strain or stress any tissues in excess. Lastly, don’t get worried if you are very sore after starting a new activity. It takes time for the muscles to get used to being used in a new way. Soreness is a good sign that you worked the muscles well.
Make it personal!
Whether you are beginning a new physical routine or continuing a previous one, injuries can occur. The best way to treat an injury, is prevent it from happening in the first place. Having a professional, such as a physical therapist, evaluate your movement could do just that! Here at Functional Performance Center, we can analyze your movement, to determine areas that may need more mobility or strength. Then, we can create a plan to address any findings, that is personalized to you! We look forward to helping you in 2020. Happy new year to all!