Have an exercise resolution? Fitness experts share tips to preventing injuries – Edmonton

Have an exercise resolution? Fitness experts share tips to preventing injuries – Edmonton

So you’ve joined the countless other people who have made New Year’s resolutions to exercise more and take care of their bodies.

It might be popular to poke fun at making resolutions this time of year, but Shara Vigeant, who has been in the Edmonton fitness industry for nearly two decades, said it’s not a bad thing.

“I see resolutions as goals and reflection: What happened last year that I want to change?” said the owner of SVPT Fitness & Athletics, a personal training facility in South Edmonton.

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The key to achieving these goals: Make them realistic. Set a goal for the year, but then break it down week by week: “Don’t worry about next year and don’t worry about next month. What will you achieve this week?”

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Also, be realistic: if you haven’t lifted or run in years, you’re not going to be setting up deadlift PRs or running marathons right away. Vigeant said people need to set goals that are truly achievable for them.

“The more complex the goal, the more work it takes. You have to be aware of the work that is required to achieve that goal,” Vigeant said.

“I know this may be counterintuitive, but lower the bar: figure out what’s most achievable for you.”

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Pushing too hard from the start not only leaves you with beginner aches and pains that might make you throw in the towel — it can also force you to rest.

This is the time of year when physical therapists say they tend to see more injuries.

“A little too much, too soon, or trying things they haven’t tried before — that’s where the problems start,” said Adam Burns, a physical therapist at Leading Edge Physiotherapy.

He said the most common injuries result from repetitive strain, particularly in the shoulders and elbows.

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1:59 How to avoid injury while working toward your fitness goals

Burns said the key to preventing injury is to warm up before exercising with light activity, like a five-minute walk or stationary bike ride, and then start the exercises slowly.

“Make sure you’re doing some dynamic stuff, getting the body moving and warming up the body,” he said.

“Things like doing some light lunges and then building up a little rotation with that, a light resistance band, and exercises for your shoulders. Some toy soldiers, some marching in place, some kicking in the ass.

“Just get those legs going, get the blood flowing, get the heart rate up a bit so the body is ready for the main event.”

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As for that core workout, Vigeant said workouts need to be tailored to the individual.

Most fitness experts agree that rushing through routines, not maintaining proper form, and not recovering enough between sets also cause injuries.

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Repetitive impact affects joints and feet, so you should need proper footwear to reduce the risk of injury.

Taking a virtual class with a trainer who can see you can help ensure movements are performed correctly, as training without guidance can lead to poor form and injury.

When cooling down after a workout, Burns recommends stretching and using a foam roller to get deep into the muscles.

He said research has shown that static stretching — lengthening a muscle to its point of tension for 30 seconds per stretch — isn’t as beneficial.

READ ALSO: No Evidence Static Stretching Before Running Prevents Injury, Experts Say

2:51 Avoid getting injured during your New Year’s workout

Newcomers to fitness are also encouraged to seek help and advice from a professional such as a personal trainer, physical therapist, or kinesiologist.

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“You don’t have to do grandiose things,” Vigeant said. “You don’t have to go from zero to 100 because it won’t stay.”

Vigeant said people need to be kind to themselves.

“It’s like picking the lowest hanging fruit to improve your health. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself and say, ‘You know what, that’s all I can do today. And a walk is all you can do today.’ Then it’s still a little more than the day before.”

Read more: New Year’s Resolutions: Creating Healthy Habits in 2023 to Prevent Disease

Edmonton gyms are hoping for an uptick in 2023

While those attending the training are making their resolutions, industry insiders say she’s been through some tough times in recent years. They hope that without pandemic restrictions, 2023 will bring more people back to gyms.

Archetype, a boutique gym in the JW Marriott Tower in downtown Edmonton, said it has seen a steady influx of new memberships.

Joel Schneider, the gym’s manager of health and human performance, said people are still aware of COVID-19 and the other respiratory diseases prevalent in the community. However, many are also eager to get back into a routine and work on their health and fitness goals.

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“Things feel normal again after everything we’ve been through since COVID: no restrictions, people are coming back (and) feeling good, seeing more people downtown – it’s nice,” said Schneider.

“It feels like you’re starting the year on a positive note.”

“It’s nice to be able to work on fitness and see everyone – the community is so nice too,” said Sarah Fitzgerald, new gym member. “New goals in the new year. On January 1st everyone wants to go to the gym – it’s a super popular thing.”

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When public health restrictions were in place, it was a difficult time for many fitness facilities, including SVPT.

Vigeant said three things have changed in that time: how people work, how they use their time and how they spend money.

She said that made it harder to predict fitness trends, which she used to be able to pin month-by-month.

“It was really, really hard. For example, as a small business owner, it was difficult to see where people were spending their money and why and when and all of that,” Vigeant said.

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“I hope that if anything, people will really make their mental and physical health a priority – because I think the pandemic has brought that to the fore.”

2:30 Get ready to move with some quick warm-up tips

Vigeant said while it’s been a slow start so far, memberships tend to pick up in mid-January once kids are back in school and families return to post-holiday routines.

“You have to start when you are ready to commit. You can’t force it because that kind of pressure doesn’t create adherence to a new plan.”

Vigeant hopes the new year will bring a fresh start for many people looking for change in their lives.

Read more: How to stay consistent with New Year’s resolutions

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“I definitely hope people want to get out of their homes, out of their online workouts and basement workouts, out and into a fitness community,” she said.

“Surround yourself with people and get real expert advice on how to move forward with your fitness goals.”

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