A new year comes with new goals and resolutions. With health being a priority in 2021 as we continue through a pandemic, the last thing you want to do is get injured. Beginning a new workout routine is exciting, but there are a few things you should know before getting started.
John Gallucci Jr., Chief Executive Officer of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy says the first mistake people make is that they don’t warm up before a workout. He suggests a light jog, lunges, and hip rotations, followed by a few static and dynamic stretches and plyometrics as well as stretches after your workout.
Another thing to avoid is doing too much too soon. “For a solid workout routine, it is important to start gradually and allow your body to build stamina and strength over time,” says Gallucci. “If you are a beginner, begin training with shortened sessions and lower weights and gradually progress, and if you are returning to your exercise program after a long absence don’t jump back in where you left off. Scale back your workout and apply the same gradual progression as that of a beginner.”
He adds not to focus solely on cardio. “While cardio activity is important for a solid workout routine, resistance training also serves many benefits including improved muscle strength and tone, maintaining flexibility and balance, and increased muscle mass.”
Cross-training is key. Most people tend to do the same type of workouts with similar repetitions and resistance because it’s in their comfort zone. If you continue to do the same thing your body will plateau. Gallucci suggests switching up your routine aerobically with different cardiovascular activities like cycling, running, and swimming and anaerobically, with resistive training utilizing different body movements, repetitions, and weights. “Switching from aerobic to anaerobic type exercises every other day and incorporating your rest days will be your key to success,” he says.
I’ve learned all of this the hard way. After skipping out on warmups and cooldowns and trying to keep up with extreme workouts I would normally do in my 20s and 30s, I wound up in surgery. It was then I decided to become a certified personal trainer to focus on low impact strength exercises I could do to adjust to my aging body (hello 47!).
As we get older our bodies begin to lose lean muscle. That lean muscle helps us burn more calories. So the less we have, the fewer calories we burn. We also become prone to osteoporosis as our bones become more fragile. Add to that an increased risk of heart disease. Then there’s our changing hormones and metabolism. Fun times, right? That’s why staying active and adding strength training into your life is crucial.
It’s the reason why I developed my Fitness Forward program. It’s a 4-week online journey that will take you through low impact weightlifting, cardio, and stretching exercises in each routine. There are three workouts each week. The breaks in each 30-40 minute routine are short, in order to maximize your time and get you in and out, and on with your day.
There’s also an optional 4th day of work where you can do my bonus abs or HIIT workout or incorporate your own cardio day of choice, whether it’s a walk, jog, bike ride, swim, hike…anything that gets you to move your body. This plan is meant to be flexible to work with your busy schedule. There are 2 rest days built-in as well, to give your muscles time to recover.
If you don’t have the budget or room for free weights at home, resistance bands or loops work wonders. There are even products that have the resistance built into your workout pants, so you don’t have to worry about the bands snapping, or riding up your leg when you use them!
Agogie’s resistance training pants have become a part of my regular routine. The bands are stitched into the leggings and force your stabilizer muscles to support the extra resistance on your body. They come in different resistance levels, depending on how you plan to use them, whether it’s for a shorter duration of exercise or longer, to wear throughout the day. Yes, you can transform any activity into a resistance workout by wearing them as you head to the store, walk the dog, clean the house, do laundry…you get the picture.
Starting a new health and wellness resolution is important, but by taking a few simple precautions, you can save yourself the frustration and time wasted sitting in recovery.