With a new year comes new goals to better ourselves. Whether you have been exercising for years or are just starting out, be especially careful to avoid injury. Loss of flexibility and of bone and muscle mass increases the risk of injury and slows down recovery.
Consult with a professional — Do not start a program without first checking with your doctor or your physical therapist. Your PT will provide expert assessment and personalized recommendations for your health and fitness. They will ensure your workout program accommodates your physical capabilities and any pre-existing conditions you might have.
Warm up / cool down — Cold muscles are prone to injury so add a few minutes of light exercise and stretches to improve blood flow and reduce stiffness. Slowly increasing / decreasing your heart rate also minimizes stress on your heart.
Know your limitations — Never work out to the point of pain. Exercising through pain can actually prolong healing. Listen to your body, slow it down, or consult with a PT on how to proceed carefully and safely.
Vary your workout — Alternating programs, such as swimming or dancing, work different muscle groups, prevent boredom, and give your body a chance to recover between sessions.