“The attraction of New Year is this: the year changes and in that change we believe that we can change with it. It is far more difficult however to change yourself than turn the calendar to a new page. We are creatures of faith, like it or not.”
Many people are a little too exuberant when it comes to health and fitness goals for the new year. Although it’s helpful to be excited and motivated when setting weight loss goals, running your first marathon, or going after those six-pack abs; it’s important to put some thought into how to achieve those goals. If you’re not careful, you can end up with an injury that will put you on the sidelines for weeks or even months.
So go ahead and set those goals for the new year, but follow these tips to help you along your health and fitness journey.
- Hire or consult a fitness professional if you are new to exercise or have existing medical issues. You can’t put a price on your health. Therefore, think of hiring a personal trainer as an investment in your health. A fitness professional can design an appropriate workout for your fitness level. Additionally, they can show you proper form, weight selection, and execution of the exercises in your program. This will provide you with a good base knowledge so that you can continue on your own and gradually build strength and stamina.
- Make sure to include a warm-up and cooldown. It’s easy to pull a muscle if you neglect warming up when exercising. Muscles need to be prepared for work and the warm-up should be tailored to your workout. For instance, If you are running, it would be appropriate to walk on a treadmill and then perform some active stretching to prepare you for the run. If you are doing a weight workout, it’s important to warm up all the major muscle groups before lifting weights. Bodyweight exercises such as squats and pushups are great exercises to prepare the body for weight training.
- Allow a recovery day. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much exercise. Overtraining occurs from a lack of recovery time and can result in injuries and hinder progress. Recovery is vital for repairing and building muscle. Therefore, make sure to schedule a rest day each week. Also, practice body awareness and if you are unusually sore or tired, consider adding additional recovery time before resuming your workouts
- Make sure to hydrate before, during, and after exercise. Per orthoatlanta.com “As your body loses water during physical activity, your muscles can become tense. This interferes with your athletic performance and can make you more likely to injure yourself.” Make a point to drink at least 20 ounces of water before your workout. Also, take breaks to hydrate during the workout, and fuel your body with a good protein and carb source post-workout. Great fuel options are bananas, nuts, apples, and shakes.
Change is never easy but it pays to be patient and take it one step at a time. Set small goals and stay consistent with your program. Before you know it, you’ll reach those goals and be ready to move to the next level.