There is no shortage of fitness programs, running protocols or fitness centers to choose from. Many of us look to the new year to begin an exercise program, revamp our current routine or take on a new challenge. For some of us, the current routine fits and it is hard to push ourselves to try something new. As we get close to a new year of wellness goals, I've listed a few guidelines, thoughts and suggestions!
Runner's and Spinners & Road Cyclists
If you love running and spinning you have a great cardio base routine and even a great workout for some muscles in your legs. However, here's what you are missing:
core strength and stability
Outer leg strength and control
Upper Body Strength
Core strength and stability helps to improve running efficiency and protects your back for longer bike rides. Inner core dysfunction can lead to leaking urine when you run, back hip or knee pain. Outer leg strength is totally missed in a running or cycling dominant program. The outer hip muscles are critical for shock absorption when running (do you have a collapsed arch in your foot, hip or knee pain?). Building these muscles also help to shape your butt! An upper body program is really important to build and maintain bone density in the upper body (Who wants to be high risk for wrist fractures as they age?). Lastly, we now know that building & maintaining bone density in the hip takes more than running or jumping vertically. To work on the femoral neck (where many fractures occur) we need to target bone building with more than running or jumping.
Exercise Video Workout or Boot Camp Enthusiasts
There are so many workout videos and classes to choose from. If you love an intense workout that is great! I do want to offer a few thoughts about these types of workouts. I love a hard workout, don't get me wrong. But, it is hard to know when your body is substituting and using helper muscles to get the job done or when you are using a faulty pattern to accomplish a physical task. (Do you ever feel your hip flexors on fire during a core workout?) When we use helper muscles or faulty patterns we leave ourselves at risk of injury or negating the very reason you are doing the exercise. Be mindful of your form throughout the workout and stop when you feel your form declines. The inner core is often bypassed by outer ab muscles when doing stability work. This can lead to leaking urine, back pain and more. Make sure you aren't holding your breath during a repeated exercise (think pushups) or bypassing certain exercises because you know they will cause pain or other dysfunction.
New Exercisers Or Those With Pre-existing Aches and Pains
It is critical to be mindful about your exercise plan. Don't think the ache or pain you have now will go away with exercise. Know what is going on and how to support a weakened area will set you up for long term success. Did you know that dysfunction in posture and inner core can result in shoulder pain? Start off with a focus on form with any exercise program. If you are scrambling to keep up or you feel muscles working that aren't target muscles for that particular exercise, your form is likely on the decline and the risk of injury goes up. Make sure you incorporate a plan that challenges all of your body's major muscle groups.
The Benefit Of A Fitness Assessment
Newburyport Wellness specializes in helping people reach their fitness goals. Whether you just starting out or a veteran athlete a fitness assessment helps to identify your areas of strength and weakness and how those factors may influence your wellness goals. Determining what your body needs for optimal strength and stability helps you to attain not only your immediate fitness goals, but also helps to keep you strong and healthy for life. A personalized assessment identifies the muscles that may not be working optimally and the muscles that may be compensating. A functional assessment allows you to have a clear picture of where your start point is for the year relative to the goals you want to achieve.
Is a mom of two, life long exercise & nutrition enthusiast, women's health specialist & physical therapist.