Did You Injure Yourself with Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution?
New Year’s resolutions are filled with good intentions. You may have started on January 1 by running three miles, even though you haven’t exercised in six months. Maybe you went to an advanced Crossfit class remembering what you could do three years ago. Often when you try too much too soon, your enthusiasm can quickly lead to injury.
Brad Bolte, MHA, LAT, ATC, head athletic trainer at St. Elizabeth Healthcare explains this is very common, “At this time of year, we see a lot of patients for tendonitis, muscle strains and sprains, muscle spasms or inflammation in the joints.”
Tips to Avoid Injury When Beginning an Exercise Program
“If you are new to exercising and have been out of it over a month, it is important to start slow and increase your intensity gradually,” says Brad. He also offers the following tips to help you stay injury-free as you start an exercise routine.
- See your doctor before you begin a program. It is important to make sure you are healthy and fit enough to perform the exercise program you are considering.
- Stretch properly before beginning your routine. It is important to start with static stretching—holding a challenging stretch and holding it for 10 to 30 seconds. After you have completed some static stretches, incorporate dynamic stretching to warm up the specific muscles you will use during exercising.
- Nutrition has a big impact on injury recovery. Most people don’t think about diet, but your body needs protein to recover after exercise, as well as vitamins and nutrients to keep your muscles elastic.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration has numerous benefits in an exercise program including muscle elasticity and decreased inflammation. Water essentially flushes your system and help with inflammation and muscle recovery. It also is important to stick with water—stay away from sugary drinks.
Exercising Through Your Injury
If your injury isn’t severe, you may be able to keep exercising. Brad recommends, “If you think you have a serious injury or have pain for more than a few days, you should see your doctor. But if you think you just need a few days of rest, it is possible to continue some level of exercising.”
It is important that you give your injury some time to heal. If you have injured your foot, look for ways to exercise not using that foot. You could focus on your core for a few days, or lift weights while your foot recovers.
“Most importantly I think people starting off the year trying to get in shape quickly, need to remember to be patient,” says Brad. “No one sees quick results. You need to create a plan and do your best to stick to that plan. Make sure exercise is on your calendar and keep a diary of what you eat as well as your fitness routine.”
If you are looking for ways to stay motivated aside from making a plan, you can try wearable technology such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch. It is a good way to keep yourself accountable and see your progress over time.
Brad advises, “Whatever you do, don’t give up. It is fine to skip a day or a week to recover but start again and get moving.”
If you think you took your resolutions too far and are injured, call our sports medicine physicians to evaluate your injury at (859) 301-5600.