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Easing into a New Fitness Routine

Posted 1/31/2017 by UHBlog

Do you know the best way to exercise so you don't get hurt? Talk to us.

Easing into a New Fitness Routine

When you're not in the habit of working out or are trying to master a new fitness routine, it can be easy to get hurt.

“The biggest mistake people make is trying to do too much too soon,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Christin Vernick, M.Ed., CSCS. “Whether working out is a new year’s resolution or a new habit you’re trying to form, trying to do too much out of the gate can be overwhelming.”

It can also lead to overuse and exercise-related injuries. To avoid injuries and ensure you're still following your new fitness regiment well into 2017, Vernick recommends setting realistic goals.

Here are six ways to get back to – and stick with – working out:

  1. Don’t overthink it. “As you’re mapping a routine for yourself, the easiest way to get started is to get on a piece of equipment and go,” she says.
    If you’re not sure where to start, Vernick suggests a free fitness assessment at the University Hospitals Fitness Center or see if a personal trainer at your local gym can help.
    “Use your resources,” Vernick says. “If you find an online routine but aren’t sure about it or you have general questions about form and exercises, ask a fitness specialist.”
  2. Start with the basics. Focus on basic movements you want to improve, like a squat or pushing something overheard.
    “The easiest starting point for most people is to do two to three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. Give yourself a 30-second rest between each set and stretch if you’re feeling stiff,” she says.
    A combination of aerobic training, such as jogging, biking or rowing, combined with strength training, is a good guideline.
  3. Build self-awareness. Be realistic about where you’re starting from. Learn the difference between pain and discomfort to help prevent injury, which could set back your routine.
    “The idea of ‘no pain, no gain’ sounds great, but there should never be a time when you’re in true pain when exercising," Vernick says. “That’s an indication something is wrong. Your workout should be challenging but not painful.”
  4. Find outside accountability. Scheduling your workout like an appointment, signing up for a fitness class or working out with a friend or partner are all ways to get yourself in the habit of working out.
  5. Set realistic goals. It’s great to set a long-term goal, but setting smaller, intermediate goals will help you recognize your success as it’s happening.
    “Gradual steps to change make it a lot more manageable, realistic and accomplishable,” Vernick says. “If you don’t workout, a goal of going to the gym five times a week may not be realistic. Start by going three days a week for a month and add days from there.”
  6. Stick with it. Starting a new fitness routine includes exercising your patience. For example, at this time of year, many people want to lose weight, but even with that, your success will depend on setting realistic goals.
    “Healthy weight loss is one to two pounds a week,” says Vernick. “Your goal won’t be accomplished overnight, but stick with it. Just because you aren’t seeing results as fast as you want doesn’t mean you’re not accomplishing your goal.”

For a personalized fitness assessment, visit the Fitness Center or call 440-988-6801.

Christin Vernick, M.Ed., CSCS, is a personal trainer at University Hospitals Avon Fitness Center. You can request an appointment with Vernick or any other health care provider online.

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