Not long after the champagne had its last fizzle, and we finished our best American Idol impression of Auld Lang Syne, it is customary to come up with a New Year’s Resolution. Resolutions range from losing a few pounds to being happier. I welcomed in the New Year sitting on my couch watching a documentary about Tom Petty entitled “Runnin’ Down A Dream.” As I was thinking of topics for my first blog, that title stuck in my mind. A lot of us will begin running down a dream this year. For some it is a metaphor of finally doing something that they have always wanted to. For many others, we will literally be running down that dream of getting into shape or losing a few pounds. If you are one of those people who are looking at getting into shape or losing a few pounds, here are a few suggestions that you may find helpful before starting:
1. Consult a physician before beginning any work out program. It sounds a little cliché, but it is extremely important to know that your body is in good health to even begin a workout program.
2. Properly warm up before exercise. It is very easy to jump right into a workout and not warm up properly. I am probably the most guilty of this. But a proper warm up is very important because it prepares the body physiologically for exercise. This preparation will result in increased blood flow and temperature in your muscles which can help prevent musculoskeletal injuries. A good article about warming up may be found at: http://coaching.usolympicteam.com/coaching/kpub.nsf/v/Sep02-5
3. Stretch after your workout. Studies now suggest that stretching before exercise can actually lead to more injuries. The idea behind this theory is that after muscle fibers are stretched out, they tighten to protect the muscle fibers. This tightness is what can lead to injuries. Before you exercise, a dynamic warm up consisting of brisk walking, lunges, knee-to-chest, or any other activity that is specific to your workout would be beneficial. Save the usual static stretching for after the workout.
4. Start off slow and work your way into shape. This is especially true for those who have been inactive for sometime. It can take up to two weeks for your body to become accustomed to the new stresses being placed on it. If you start off with too much intensity, you will become very sore. This soreness may then become an excuse not to work out. Begin slowly and gradually increase your intensity.
5. Take care of your body. There will always be little nagging aches and pains. Take care of them when they are little aches and pains and do not let them become major aches and pains.
Hopefully these few suggestions will help you get your workout started on the right track. With some hard work and dedication you will hopefully reach your goals, whatever they may be. Then when you ring in 2009 you can resolve to do something else other than get into shape. Until next time!