It is easy to get caught up in the early year excitement, but that could lead to burn out or an injury that would stand in the way of meeting your health goals.

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New year, new you and injury prevention too

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It’s that time of year again that many of us make a New Year’s resolution to exercise. We all have different reasons; for some it is to lose weight and for others it may be completing your first 5K or even a marathon. It is easy to get caught up in the early year excitement, but that could lead to burn out or an injury that would stand in the way of meeting those goals. To help you avoid this, here are some basic principles and advice to help keep you on track this year.

  1. Frequency, Consistency and Duration: For beginners, start with 3-4 days a week with a day off in between sessions if you have not been exercising regularly. Take one day off per week to allow for recovery. As for duration, 15-20 minutes would be a good place to start in order to avoid injury for beginners. A more experienced person may be able to start back at 30 minutes and progress from there.
  2. Intensity: Intense exercise is good for performance gains and meeting goals in the short term, but the long-term goal should be to feel good and have a program that can be sustained through the year. If you are an experienced exerciser, an intensity level of 70-85 percent might be appropriate.  Someone starting out should consider starting at 50-65 percent.
  3. Progression: One of the leading causes of injury is the training error of doing too much, too soon. The 10-percent rule is a basic recommendation that should help keep you out of trouble. It can be applied to both cardio and resistance training. Just increase you’re your mileage or the weight you are lifting by no more than 10 percent every couple of weeks to avoid injury.
  4. Types of exercise- know yourself and your body. You are more likely to stick with it and stay consistent if you find a type of exercise you enjoy. For injury prevention, it is also important to know your body. If you have bad knees, a low-impact exercise such as the elliptical machine, bike or swimming would be a more appropriate choice.  Lower impact exercise can also be a good choice to stay active when recovering from an injury. 
  5. Shoes. Make sure you have good footwear, especially if you are running.  The basic recommendation on shoe replacement is 300-500 mile or six months, whichever comes first.

These are just a handful of recommendations to help you start out the New Year with some basic information as a guide to meeting your goals without injury.   

Hope you have a healthy and injury free New Year!

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