A New Year, A New You, New Year’s Resolutions

In the gym community it is widely known that the busiest time of the year is in January, at the beginning of the year.

This is because every year millions of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution to begin exercising and  living a healthier lifestyle.

They all go to the gym (or health club or spa), some with more knowledge of, and experience with, exercise than others. Some having exercised recently and some having not exercised for many years. Most will end up stopping exercise within 1 to 2 months because of an injury.

Statistically, 90% of people who start a new exercise routine will have to stop due to pain and injury. In my experience, many of these people injure themselves simply because they don’t know which exercises are good for them, and which ones are not. And they start out too hard and too aggressively.

You have to start out almost too easily. You can’t go from not exercising at all to exercising an hour a day, 5 days a week, in a short period of time. If you haven’t exercised in over a year, you will be extremely sore from doing very little. You have to give your body some time to get used to the new exercises and using your muscles in ways that they haven’t been used in possibly years.

Just because a there is a certain weight machine in a gym doesn’t mean that it is good for you. Even if you see someone doing a certain exercise, doesn’t mean that that exercise is right for you, and your specific body.

When you exercise in a gym you will see many, many people with bad form, and exercising in ways that will cause them injury and harm. That injury may not come on for a long time, but doing an exercise with bad form or doing the wrong exercise will eventually catch up with them at some point.

You have to have an idea of what you are going to do before going to the gym. Know which exercises are best for your body type and your specific needs. Exercise smarter, not harder.

You may have been a star athlete in high school, but if that was even 20 years ago, your body has changed significantly. Even if you have exercised consistently for the last 20 years (like I have), you have to exercise differently now, then you did 20 years ago. Your body has changed in those 20 years. You are not 18 years old and can recover from an injury in a week or 2.

If you are not trying to be a professional athlete, do not lift heavy weights. This will only cause injury and make you susceptible to arthritis in the future, if you don’t already have it. Lifting heavy weights on an arthritic joint is not smart. It will only increase the wear and tear on the joint causing it to breakdown and degenerate faster than it would otherwise. High impact and heavy stress will irritate arthritic joints and increase the progression of the arthritis.

This is like trying to run if you have ankle, knee, hip, back, upper back, and/ or neck arthritis. When you run, the impact translates through your body up into your neck and head. Each impact causes a microscopic trauma and will irritate the arthritis and cause it to worsen. And once you have arthritis, you cannot get rid of it. You can slow down the progression of it and you can stabilize it, but you cannot get rid of it.

Try doing some other type of low impact, cardio-vascular exercise. Such as the elliptical machine, walking or hiking, stationary bike or biking outside, rowing machine, stair master, the options are limitless. You will still get the benefit of aerobic activity, but without the impact and irritation of running.

A great way to get into exercise if you haven’t exercised in over 6 months and are deconditioned, is to walk (if you can, if not then do another type of low impact, cardio-vascular exercise) 15 to 20 minutes, 3 days a week. Follow this with the Pain Free stretching routine.

You have to stretch out more than just your hamstrings by bending over at the waist and lowering your head to the floor. You have to stretch out the front of your legs (quads), back of the legs (hamstrings), hips (gluteals), and front of the hips (abdominals and hip flexors just to stabilize and adequately loosen up your lower back. Every step that you take you literally use hundreds of muscles to accomplish this simple motion. Therefore you have to stretch out many muscles to affect a joint or area of the body.

I have worked with muscles and muscle patterns for over 10 years and know which muscles to stretch and which muscles to strengthen, in order to prevent injury. In the Pain Free Lifestyle program I have put together stretching routines that will hit all of major muscle groups that tend to get easily injured. If you follow the stretching routine, you will be able to prevent injuries before they come up.

I have also put together an easy to follow weight lifting program. No matter how out of shape you are or how long it has been since you have last exercised, it will give you the confidence that you are doing the right exercises for your body. It will allow you to slowly strengthen up painful, irritated and even arthritic joints which will help to stabilize these joints and allow you to use them more without increasing the pain or irritating the arthritis.

The Pain Free lifestyle program also includes an easy to follow nutrition program. Eating right is similar to exercise, you have to ease your way into it, and have to do it consistently to get any benefit out of it. You can’t go from not watching what you eat at all to eating a clean and healthy diet. Ease your way into it with small, easy to follow steps. Such as: eat dessert no more than 1 time a day at the beginning of the program, eat fast or friend foods no more than 3 times a week to begin with. I am a trained nutritionist, with a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition. This is what works for changing around your eating habits. You just can’t go from eating fried and fast foods and desserts to never eating them at all in a short period of time. Even as the program progresses, you still are able to eat the foods you love, but just in moderation. If you never get to eat the foods you love, you will feel deprived and eventually stop eating healthy, because it will be too tough to maintain. Once again, be in it for the long haul. This stuff only works if you do it consistently and make it part of your lifestyle.

If you have made a New Year’s resolution to start exercising and living a healthy lifestyle, do it intelligently. If you go at it with no plan in mind and are too aggressive initially, your body will not be able to take it for long. You will be setting yourself up for failure.

If you want any benefit from eating right and exercising, you have to be in it for the long haul. It has to be long term and done consistently. If not, then you will not reap any benefits. Yo-yo dieting and exercising here and there will not doing anything for your overall health and well being. It will actually make you more likely to injure yourself.

Eating right and exercising to lose weight, reduce pain and increase activity will only work if you do it long term, and make it part of your lifestyle. Doing it intelligently with small, easy to follow steps is the Pain Free Way.

Here’s to a new and healthy you this year. Exercising and eating right is possible to do, you just do it intelligently.

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