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Injury Prevention in the New Year: Chiropractic Strategies for Active Lifestyles

Are you looking to get active in the new year?

Have you heard that one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to diabetes, heart disease, and dementia is a sedentary lifestyle? A lack of maintaining an effective exercise and physical activity routine can take up to 23 years off your potential lifespan. Thats more than smoking!

For many people, the new year presents an opportunity to develop new habits and routines to improve their quality of life. For about half of those people, losing weight, getting in shape, or simply implementing more movement will be that routine or habit that they want to achieve.

When it comes to getting more movement, getting injured is one of the biggest speed bumps that can veer you off track and compromise your routine. I know this from experience.

Whether you are joining a gym, buying equipment for your home, or teaming up with a personal trainer, here are 3 tips to help you keep that great habit going.

Move well before you move more

Whether you’re starting your exercise after a long break or starting for the first time ever, making sure you can exercise without creating pain or injury is important. If you already deal with pain, you are likely going to alter the way you do your exercises in order to avoid that pain. These movement changes are called compensations. Compensations place unequal forces on parts of your body, and that puts you around greater risk of injury.

If you are planning to get more active or start exercising in the new year, I would concurrently see a rehab and movement-based chiropractor. That chiropractor can help you not only resolve that pain issue, but can also give you guidance on the type of exercises and stretches to focus on to resolve that issue. You can read more about the questions you want to ask a potential chiropractor here.

Beyond that, if you are injured, whether during a workout or in your daily life, you have someone you can call to help you get it resolved sooner. This makes it easier for you to maintain that new routine that can literally extend your quality, and quantity, of life.

Make sure you are supporting post-exercise recovery

Whether you are taking up running or hitting the weights, you need to be able to support your body’s recovery effectively. There’s nothing worse than feeling like crap a day or 2 after your workout. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and lack of energy are 2 big hinderances to mainting an exercise routine.

Drinking plenty of water (at least 100-120 ounces per day, or half your body weight in ounces, whichever is larger), eating enough calories (especially whole grains, veggies, and protein), and getting plenty of sleep can do wonders when it comes to improving not only the effectiveness of your new exercise routine, but the sustainability of it, too.

Additionally, if you are too tired or not nurturing your body nutritionally, you are putting yourself at higher risk of injury when doing your workouts. A rehab and movement based chiropractor can help guide you in developing a recovery routine that works best for you.

Be patient. Change takes time

One issue I’ve seen pop up is going to hard, too fast. Creating a routine, and finding a way to regularly do your exercising is what will give you results. Trying to go 6 days a week, and increasing too quickly will not only make injury risk higher, but you will burn yourself out before you see the results you want.

For this, I recommend implementing the "SMART" protocol for setting and achieving goals.

A SMART Goal is one that is:

Specific - Have a specific thing you want to achieve

Measurable - Have a way to measure that thing

Achievable - Make sure it is achievable for you

Relevant - Make sure the goal is aligns with your values and supports your long-term ambitions

Time-Based - Give yourself a specific date to achieve this goal

By giving yourself achievable goals, even small ones, within realistic timeframes, you have a higher chance of success. Small goals achieved build into bigger goals achieved!

Happy New Year, and happy goal-setting!

Do you have questions about getting into a routine? Comment below, and I'll be happy to help.

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