From the couch to the gym. It’s one of the most common resolutions: to get in shape. But hitting the gym too fast and pushing too hard will put an end to your fitness dreams. Before you go all out on January 1, consider a few words of workout wisdom from the experts.
The Fit Institute physical therapist and trainer Ryan LeFever sees it every single year – a fresh group of eager, well-intentioned workout wannabes.
“A lot of people get pretty serious about starting off the New Year with a new them or a new body,” LeFever said. “So it will definitely be pretty crowded for sure.”
The only problem?
“After about halfway thru February, March people start to tail off for various reasons Injury might be one of those reasons,” LeFever said. “They think it’s going to go one way, and if they get injured, all of a sudden, their year has changed right off the bat and not for the better like they were hoping.”
His advice? Take it slow. Injuries happen when you jump in too fast.
“Nowadays there’s things out there where you’re seeing high intensity stuff as quickly as possible, doing as many reps as possible,” he said. “If you’re a beginner, people can get themselves into trouble.”
Overuse injuries in the shoulders, knees and ankles – can crush your goals. Even if you don’t see dramatic results right away, working out should make you feel good.
“I think the best thing about exercise is how it makes you feel. You get a little release of endorphins, it makes you feel more alert, it makes you feel much better about yourself, and it doesn’t have to be a super intense activity -- it can be something as light as a yoga or mobility session that will get the same desired effect,” LeFever said. “Take it slow, especially starting off. Less is more. Concentrate on the more functional things that we do day-to-day, incorporate them into your workout plans. A lot of pushing and pulling types of things, working on squatting type activities and just making sure you have good form.”
And listen to your body. If you feel pain, stop and ask for help. LeFever says proper form is key to injury prevention. And remember, it takes time to get fit, patience plays a big part.