Whether it is the nice fall weather or a New Year’s resolution or some other motivation to start a new exercise program, getting a checkup by a chiropractor is highly recommended to get your body aligned and ready to tackle this new adventure. Exercising when you are out of alignment can stress your body and result in painful injuries.
Develop an exercise regimen that suits your interests and abilities, and is something that you enjoy. Having a goal to focus on with a plan to get there can be a great help and motivator. Start slowly and move forward gradually. Trying to walk 5 miles or do 50 sit-ups on the first day will be ineffective, but with a plan in place you can get to your goal. Remember the 3 parts of a workout:
Warm-up: Start with about 5 to 8 minutes of light aerobic exercises to give your body time to increase blood supply to the muscles so that they get warmed up and are ready for the demands of the exercises you plan to do. If you are taking a walk or run, then run in place or take a jog. If lifting weights, do a set with light weights to go through the motions and warm up the muscles to be used.
Workout: Plan on a goal of at 20-30 minutes of exercise during this session, three times a week. When starting out, for cardio, set the number lower–maybe 5 to 10 minutes of continuous exercise; for weights, go lighter weights –and be sure not to cross any pain thresholds. You will no doubt experience some soreness after exercising, which is normal, but “no pain, no gain” can lead to injuries when felt during exercise. Increase your time or weights a little at a time each week. The goal is to improve the frequency, duration, and intensity of your exercise over time.
Cool-down and Stretch: Bring the intensity down rather than coming to a complete stop and take time to stretch your muscles. Stretching after you exercise reduces the chance of injury and helps increase your flexibility. If you notice any aches that persist, tell your chiropractor. Your chiropractor may suggest specific beneficial exercises and those that should be avoided.
FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE AND STAYING ON THE PLAN
Successful exercise plans require commitment. Start simple and increase your capacity to do longer and more intense exercise sessions. If possible, find an exercise partner who can offer support. Keep an exercise log with your accomplishments. Build exercise sessions into your calendar so that they become a part of your schedule. Have your workout clothes or the gym bag waiting in the car or by the door so they can motivate you.
Even someone with a very busy routine can schedule in some stretches or lighter aerobic time. Find ways to integrate exercise into your daily activities. For example, take the stairs if you are able. Park a little farther away to give yourself a few extra minutes of exercise. Use a standing desk and take regular breaks to take a short walk and do some stretching during your day.
Remember that your chiropractor is part of your support team. Before starting a new routine, schedule an appointment to get aligned and discuss the best way to move forward. Regular adjustments will help your body handle the new routine. Be sure to get in touch with your chiropractor if you notice any pain or soreness. The sooner your body is back in alignment, the faster it will heal.
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For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Hunt Spinal Care today.