Fitness Tips: Starting the Year Off Right


It’s the new year and for many, with it comes the resolution to get into shape. If you haven’t been to the gym or had an exercise routine in a while, we want to make sure you get off of the right foot. The last thing you need is an injury that will prevent you from reaching your goals. The American Council on Exercise surveyed fitness professionals to identify the most common fitness errors. Here are some good tips to avoid these mistakes and get the most out of your exercise routine.


WARM-UP: People tend to omit this prelude to exercise. Cold muscles are not as pliable as warm muscles and are more easily injured. Be sure to incorporate 10-15 minutes of low intensity warm-up prior to intense exercise.


STRETCH MORE: Stretching is a lost art, but it can improve range of motion and flexibility, therefore reducing the risk of muscle tightness or strain. Don’t forget to stretch post workout, while your muscles are still warm.


BRING A BOTTLE: Always have a bottle of water with you and drink regularly — before you feel thirsty. Thirst is a signal that you are becoming dehydrated.


FIND ‘JUST RIGHT’: Many people work out at too high of an intensity, putting themselves at risk of injury. Determine workout goals that are appropriate for you based on your age and fitness level. If you need help doing this, ask a professional. Gradually increase the intensity of your workout over time.


AVOID LIFTING TOO MUCH: Choose weights that you can manage. Use weights that allow you to complete 10-15 repetitions, while feeling like you could have done 3-4 more reps. It is okay to lift to the point of fatigue, but not to the point of failure.


DON’T JERK WEIGHTS: If a weight is so heavy that you need to “jerk” it to move it, it is too much. You are putting yourself at risk for muscle strains and tears. Find a weight that you can control smoothly.


ELIMINATE MACHINE LEAN: Ellipticals, stair-climbers, and treadmills may seem like equipment made to lean into. This can put undue stress on your wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, and neck. Maintain good posture during exercise for maximum results.


EATING/DRINKING: If your workout lasts less than two hours, you should not need energy bars or sports drinks for fuel. Some of these bars and drinks are high in calories and sugar. Check labels to make sure you are eating a balanced, nutritional product.