The holidays are over. Now, it’s time to get your stiff muscles and joints back into shape.
The holiday season is over, and after the rush of shopping, cooking, and parties, you’ve likely returned to your normal daily routine. That means restarting the exercise program you may have neglected during the holidays. But how can you ease your body back into working out without getting hurt?
Even a short break of a week or two can leave your muscles stiff from the lack of exercise. Yet with some care, planning, and patience, you can get fit again. In fact, you’ll soon be back to your former exercise regimen as if you never took time off.
Tips to ease back into exercise
Always check with your doctor before restarting your exercise program to ensure your heart is in good shape. Once given the green light, consider these tips to prevent injuries:
Start slow. After a long period of inactivity, you may be tempted to start where you left off. But going full speed into your previous workout routine will only lead to sore muscles, stiff joints, and possibly injuries. To keep your muscles and joints safe from injury, ease back into your exercise program. If you previously worked out five days a week, start slow and aim for two to three days a week. Once you build up your strength, you can increase your frequency.
Go for moderate intensity at first. To protect yourself from injury, go for moderate intensity exercises at first. That means starting off with low-impact aerobics such as walking, biking, and swimming before hitting the running trail. Instead of lifting heavy weights, grab lighter weights and do more reps. Again, as you build up strength and stamina, you can return to what you were doing before you took a break.
Set realistic goals. You used to work out for an hour each session before the holidays. But such a goal is probably unrealistic when you start up your exercise routine. Try for shorter workouts of say, 15 to 20 minutes and add on from there when you feel ready.
Revamp your form. Now might be a good time to focus on proper form and posture that may have fallen by the wayside. As you’re easing back into your workouts, work with a trainer to perfect your form whether you’re lifting weights or running. While you’re focusing on your form, it might be time to buy a new pair of shoes or other workout equipment that may be too old or worn.
Stretch a lot. Following a long break, your muscles are bound to be a bit stiff. One way to loosen your muscles before you exercise is by doing dynamic stretches, such as swinging your legs back and forth or walking lunges. Afterward, you can do what are known as static stretches, which involves moving a joint as far as it can go and holding it. An example of a static stretch is the bicep stretch. Stand up straight, with your hands laced behind your back. Straighten your arms and move your palms downward. Then raise your arms as high as you can until you feel a stretch in your biceps and shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
Take a rest. Whatever exercise you do, give yourself a rest between workouts. Your body requires time to recover. So be sure to schedule rest days in your workout schedule. Also, listen to your body. If you’re tired and sore, take a break. Going any further in pain only invites overuse injuries.
Start the new year right
Whether starting a new exercise program or restarting your old one, check in with the physicians and physical therapists at New York Bone & Joint Specialists. We will find the best exercise for you to help get you into shape. Contact us for a consultation.