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New Year’s Resolution #1: Easy Does It At the Gym

Wait a minute.

That advice doesn’t sound in sync with your Jan 1 fitness game plan, now, does it?

Last year, losing weight and getting fit/healthy were in the Top 5 of New Year’s resolutions made by all Americans.*  But unfortunately, a desire to see results yesterday often results in a prescription for physical therapy.

Don’t get us wrong. We applaud a gung-ho effort at the gym, trying to new classes, increasing mileage on the treadmill, reaching new heights at the box jump or building glute strength with kettle bell swings. Our worry is that gung-ho frequently results in athletes lying in bed with ice packs, taking ibuprofen and, most importantly, suffering a setback to ambitious 2016 workout plans.

Here are a few words of wisdom from Fusion’s Doctors of Physical Therapy who have seen and treated it all!

Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Any athlete can benefit from a full-body assessment to determine which muscle groups are stronger than others.  Even if you’ve been exercising regularly over the last year and have just slacked off over these last couple of party-hearty weeks, it’s still a smart training practice to find out where you should be focusing those precious workout minutes to maximize your overall physical fitness.  By having a strength baseline, you’ll be able easily reach goals (and set new ones) and stay on track without getting hurt.

Do What You Know

Whether you’re heading back to the gym after a brief or a long hiatus, you’ve probably been active in your life at some point. The best sport to use as your starting point is one that you know. And pretty much anyone who is embarking on a fitness regime in 2016 knows how to walk!

Hop on the treadmill and walk briskly for half hour. Do that a few times a week and then slowly increase the incline or pick up the pace of your gait.  If biking or swimming is an activity that feels comfortable to you, then begin with one of those.  Soon you’ll be hankering to spice up your fitness routine so ease into a class or a weights regimen.  Do remember to consult a physical therapist if any pain persists longer than a week. DPTs are a great resource for offering advice on workout plans.  Once you develop a relationship with a therapist who knows you and your body’s vulnerable areas, they can suggest sports or workouts that will minimize joint stress and muscle/ligament strain.

Change It Up/Crosstrain

This may sound contradictory to the last piece of advice. It sort of is and it sort of isn’t. As mentioned above, start your New Year’s resolve to get fit with an activity that feels safe and familiar.  Once that routine becomes too comfortable, however, you’re ready to add new elements.  For example, if walking on the treadmill is not increasing your stamina and providing the cardiovascular power that you need to consider training for, say a 5k run, then you need to change your workout.  Begin jogging slowly for a minute, then walk a minute, then gradually increase to two-minute intervals, etc.

Simultaneously, try weaving in a strength and conditioning program that will support your cardio activity and your goal of completing that 5k without hurting yourself. It’s important to continue doing the exercises you love, but alternating them with movement that uses complimentary muscle groups so that you stay strong and reduce the risk of injury.

If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to book an assessment, please call us at 212-924-4920 or email us at info@fusion-pt.com. We want to make sure that our athletes start their new year off on not just the right foot, but the left one, too! In other words, we want to make sure you have not only strong feet, but sturdy shoulders, elbows, backs, hamstrings, knees, etc.!



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