New Goal, New You, New Injury?
Starting a new workout or fitness routine? We like your style!
Plenty of people struggle with keeping up with well-intentioned fitness goals, but there’s another less commonly talked about the piece that could factor into your plans: injury. As you’re ramping up into your new workout routine, unexpected injury can sideline you in a big way.
But, don’t worry! As long as you approach your fitness regimen with a little caution, (along with that dose of motivation that you’ve got going for you) you can enjoy a healthy, consistent routine, leading to long-term, healthy habits. Here are our best tips for success.
The Risks Of Increased Load
As you pump up the intensity in your activity, your body has to ramp up as well. And, simply put, sometimes your motivation may outweigh the readiness of your body.
Whether you’re getting into running, biking, hiking, swimming, bikram yoga, if you increase your activity level too rapidly, you may be placing too much stress on your muscles and bones. That could eventually lead to muscle strains, tendonitis, or stress reactions in your bones. Which, obviously, would bring your fitness goals to an unplanned pause.
Your motivation is a good thing; it just needs a proper application. Your body is incredibly adaptive and will increase in both muscle mass and bone health as the activity is increased – as long as this is done on an appropriate timeline. Your body is going to be the most susceptible to overuse injury at the beginning of a routine, which is why it’s imperative to be careful about how you go about implementing these initial workouts.
How To Support Your Body In A New Routine
One of the main things to remember is that while a new fitness routine is exciting, it’s still new. Read: your body hasn’t done this all before. A little extra support outside of your workouts is important to proactively prevent.
Mobility And Stretching Routines
As you begin to move and challenge your body more, you may feel some familiar (or not so familiar!) muscle aches following your workouts. While some muscle soreness is to be expected and is part of the fitness process, make sure you’re setting your body up to recover properly. Working specific muscle groups makes them tight; plan time following your workout to stretch your muscles to ease the tension and improve post-workout mobility.
Warm-Up And Cool-Down
While your ambitions are admirable, it’s tough to go from zero to 60 – don’t put that kind of strain on your body. When approaching a workout, be sure to properly warm-up with some lighter activity before your more intense work. Similarly, help your body ease back down following the workout with lighter, cool-down work.
Scheduled Recovery And “Easy” Days
You’re working out hard and deserve some downtime! As you build your new routine, be sure to also build in time to let your body rest and recover. This is going to look different from person to person, depending on the level of activity that you’ve had coming into this new routine. Rest days are important to let your body rebuild and prepare for your next workout; never feel guilty for taking them.
Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, a recovery day can also come in the form of a shorter or “easy” session. This can help your body maintain some fitness in an “active recovery” session without the same amount of stress as a hard workout.
What’s most important: listen to your body. Pushing beyond your physical limits can lead to injury.
Sometimes your body needs a little help beyond taking time off after intense activity to fully repair. Have you ever experienced a knot in your muscles that just won’t seem to go away, despite full rest?
That’s where a therapeutic massage can come in. While many people think of massage as a way to simply unwind and relax, a therapeutic massage can actually target tight and sore muscles, and help to flush out your system. This style of massage utilizes heavy pressure on certain areas of your body to relieve those stubborn knots within muscles and ease overall muscle tension. While the actual massage may not feel the most comfortable at the time, you’ll walk away from the table having done your muscles a true service.
You can keep this one pretty simple and still see big benefits. The basics are nothing you haven’t heard before: eat more whole, unprocessed foods. Cut down on the junk. Save any food allergies or sensitivities, don’t restrict food.
You’re asking a lot of your body – so give it good quality fuel! Just as your body was built to move, it also needs food for nourishment. Whether you’re looking to shed a couple of pounds or simply live a bit healthier, the food that you put in your body matters. A great way to keep up with healthy eating is to make it readily available. Clean the junk out of your house, and replace it with healthy options.
As you increase your activity level, be sure that you’re getting enough calories in as well. While you don’t necessarily need to count any numbers here, make sure you plan ahead to equip your gym bag with healthy post-workout snacks. Replenishing protein is an important part of muscle recovery. Eating a protein-rich snack directly following a workout helps your muscles heal and ultimately gain strength.
How Does Chiropractic Fit Into Your New Health Routine?
Chiropractic care, in general, is a great way to stay on top of overall health and wellness when incorporated as a part of a consistent plan. As you increase the intensity of your fitness routine, this care can become even more helpful in maintaining good health and keeping potential injuries at bay.
The gentle chiropractic adjustments of the spine, neck, and extremities help to realign your body and provide relief to your entire system. These adjustments also serve to decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, and ultimately allow your entire body and immune system to communicate and function better. This kind of care can help guide your body through what can feel like an intense change in activity. Not to mention, many people who start a new fitness routine begin to experience new muscle soreness as they get in shape. Though some general soreness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when neglected over time, it becomes easy to develop harmful compensation patterns that may alter posture for the worse. Chiropractic care, including therapeutic massage, can help you stay a step ahead of those issues.
Additionally, your practitioner can address different areas of stress in your body specific to your exercise level and help to treat the root cause of any lingering aches and pains that may have cropped up as you’ve ramped up the intensity of your workout routine. By working consistent chiropractic care into your routine, you’re providing a great service to your body.
As you prioritize fitness more, also prioritize your health. Take care of your body. Schedule your appointment online or call (256) 333-9429.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.