It's that time of year again; time to get to the gym, time to lose weight, time to make more TIME for you! How many times do you say these things with the best of intentions and then completely lose track of time?
A study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that in 2002, 75 percent of people stick with their goal for one week, while 46 percent stay on track for about six months. I say it's time to change these numbers especially in the area of fitness, and who knows by starting there you may see other areas of your life take on a whole different meaning!
I am a true believer that knowing what not to do, can lead to doing better. So, with that said here are a few tips for when you start exercising your resolutions!
1. Too much Too soon - It's not a race and something is always better than nothing. Start slow allowing your muscles to adapt to the exercise.
Soreness is normal but if you need a crane to get out of bed the next morning, chances are you are not coming back! Progression should be in an interval of 10 percent or less.
2. Unrealistic Goals - It's wonderful to think that you could lose 25 pounds in your first week of exercising like the contestants on the "Biggest Loser", but is that realistic? My guess is that cutting yourself off from the rest of the world is not an option that most of us have.
Healthy and sustainable weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Factoring that in with many other variables can help you set more realistic goals.
3. Unbalanced Programs/Spot Reducing - No doubt that you can work one area more than another but focusing on one specific muscle group and ignoring the rest will likely lead to injury.
Be sure that all opposing muscle groups are accounted for during a workout. The body functions as a kinetic chain, a weak link in the chain will cause problems for the entire body.
4. Skipping Warm Up and Cool Down - This is like not letting your car warm up before you drive away after it has set out all night in zero degree temperatures! Warm up/cool down should be proportionate to the intensity of the workout. However, generally 5-10 minutes of each is typically enough.
This allows more oxygenated blood flow to the muscles decreasing injury and increasing the elasticity of the muscle and joint it surrounds.
5. Doing the Same Thing - Not only is it boring it's not safe. By doing the same thing you stress the same muscles, joints and connective tissue which eventually will lead to an overuse injury, as well as losing the effectiveness of the exercise. Keep it new, interesting and safe by changing your routine as little as every 8-weeks to as much as weekly changes!
6. Measuring the Wrong Results - Stepping on a scale is setting you up for disappointment. Many new exercisers will build muscle and lose fat which is not accurately reflected on the scale.
Better ways of measuring your fitness goals are: body composition, heart rate, amount of weight you can lift and of course your clothes; jeans don't lie!
7. Poor Technique/Incorrect Machine Set-up - This will ultimately lead to injury and not stepping foot into a fitness center again! There are many steps to properly executing an exercise.
If you are not sure how to perform an exercise appropriately please ask the fitness staff or personal trainer at your facility to avoid any issues and get the best results from the workout. Common exercises that have bad technique include:
- Abdominal Sit-ups
- Lat Pull-Down
- Treadmill Do Not hold on while running as this promotes bad ergonomics and lowers the amount of calories burned.
If you are taking the time to make the resolution, you need to take the time to be sure you go about it the right way getting the most from your effort and not setting yourself up for disaster. I challenge you to embrace 2012 with the idea that all we have is time, time to make the right choices and time to redefine how successful resolutions can be. We are a month into the New Year, where are you at on those resolutions? Have you made the time to follow through on your promises? If not, today is the day, now is the time!
The Salem Community Center offers many programs as well as Free Fitness Floor orientations and certified personal trainers for a small fee to get you started on a program for 2012.
For more information visit our website at www.salemcommunitycenter.com or call 330-332-5885.