Guest post by Sarah Sherman, PT, DPT, ATC, SCS owner of LIVE4 Physical Therapy & Wellness Advising in Acton, MA
At the start of the new year, we often find ourselves reflecting on our health and setting out to achieve a more active lifestyle. You might be trying a new workout class, focusing on including movement in your daily life, or setting new strength goals. Whatever you are working towards, it is important to set yourself up for success. Achieving and maintaining an active lifestyle takes some work. Here are some tips to help reduce your risk of injury and keep you moving in the right direction.
PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR MOVEMENT
We are all trying to sneak in that quick 30-minute workout, but it is important to prepare the body for the demands of high intensity activity. Try a 5–10-minute dynamic warm-up at the start of your workout to help decrease your risk of injury and improve your performance. A dynamic warm-up is a series of active movements performed to gradually increase blood flow, functional mobility, and flexibility. Save the static stretches for after your workout to help relax and cool-down. Here are some examples of exercises to try:
- Walking knee to chest stretch
- Walking hamstring stretch
- Walking lunges
- Bodyweight squats
- Jump rope
EAT WELL. MOVE WELL.
Fueling your body properly is an essential part of preventing injury and ensuring you can make physical progress. Here are some areas to focus on:
- Eat adequate, high-quality protein
- Increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation
- Taste the rainbow! Real fruits and vegetables are the best way to consume antioxidant-rich foods
- Work with your physician to ensure you get enough Vitamin D
- Consider adding anti-inflammatory herbs and spices to your diet. Try adding ginger, turmeric, or cinnamon to your post-workout smoothie. Or flavor your dinner with garlic or rosemary.
RECOVER FOR SUCCESS
Our bodies must have time to repair and recover to make progressive physical improvements. Quality sleep is essential for the functioning of almost all body systems. Chronic sleep deprivation increases stress hormones, decreases endurance, impairs healing, increases risk of musculoskeletal injury, and so much more. Here are some sleep hygiene tips to support your movement goals:
- Create a relaxing, individualized bedtime routine
- Keep your room cool and comfortable
- Get sunlight during the day
- Set a consistent sleep schedule