As one year comes to a close and another begins, people begin to set goals and make resolutions. Losing weight, getting to the gym more often or getting into “better shape” are all common. These all require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is great for your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. However, ramping up your activity level too quickly after a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry can lead to pain, injury and disappointment if your body isn’t ready for it.
Each and every year I see clients that have set resolutions around their health and fitness. They join a local gym, start their new exercise program, get sidelined with an injury and give up on improving their health and fitness because now they are in pain and they don’t know what to do to overcome their injury or how to prevent it from recurring again in the future.
This is the problem with most community-based gyms and fitness centers. Each member gets put into a big class with a program that is supposed to be embraced by each member. But this doesn’t work. Each individual’s fitness needs are unique and dependent upon a variety of factors that only a physical therapist is specialized in assessing and treating. Fitness trainers are not movement experts and they are not trained to assess, treat and prevent injuries.
A physical therapist is an expert in human movement, and can help you safely reach your fitness goals. People think of PTs as the person to see after an injury, but a visit before you change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place. An evaluation by your PT will include assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns – think jumping, running, squatting, carrying.
Most common injuries from new fitness routines are caused by underlying weakness, range of motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns. Your PT will find these during your assessment. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and get you safely moving into the new year! The other common way people get injured working towards their resolution is with overtraining, or doing too much too soon. Physical therapists are also experts in exercise prescription and program design. Your PT can help you create a routine specific to your needs and goals that will progress appropriately and keep you out of trouble.
So stop only thinking of your PT after you’re injured. In this case, it’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seeing your physical therapist before you start on your resolution can keep you on track, injury free, and help you reach your goals for the new year!
Ready to tackle your New Year Resolutions and Goals for a Healthier 2022? Contact us today!