With spring now in full bloom and warmer weather covering most of the country, it may be the perfect time to restart that fitness routine that crashed and burned earlier in the year. Knowing that successful health improvement requires more than just showing up to the gym, Concentra Physical Therapy is unlocking the secrets to a successful and sustainable workout routine, helping you continue on the journey of better health and life-long wellbeing.
Some think physical therapists only help individuals overcome serious injuries, but these skilled medical professionals also have a wealth of knowledge that help patients control weight and achieve optimal health. Concentra Physical Therapy is one of the largest providers of physical and occupational therapy, and its network of qualified and experienced therapists has compiled the five most important elements to help you achieve optimal fitness (while reducing the risk of injury).
- Motion in motion – All motion is good for your health, and when we remove motion from our bodies complications will arise. Daily walks are a great way to get started in physical fitness, and it’s more important to start an activity than wait for the "perfect" exercise routine.
- The Numbers Game – US Health and Human Services suggest every person complete 2.5 hours of moderately-intensive physical activity each week. But, it doesn’t have to be completed all at once. Try to break it up into 15 or 20 minute segments that can be done each day, or set aside an hour on the weekends.
- Do a little, gain a lot – Successful fitness routines begin with reasonable, achievable goals and build from there. When starting a new exercise program, start light and gradually increase how often and how long activities are done. Even with a shorter routine, your body will gain greater results from proper form and function over a higher amount of reps or duration.
"People often think that getting regular exercise requires a major lifestyle overhaul, or giving up activities in other areas, when in reality, exercise can be part of your daily life and routine errands,” said Concentra Physical Therapy Vice-President Peter Deziel. “What’s important is to get started and to stay committed, even if you don’t see big changes in a day, a week or a month. If you are consistent and persistent, your goal will keep getting closer.”
- Your Daily Three – An optimal exercise program consists of three essentials - aerobic, strength training and flexibility. This combination serves to strengthen your heart, maintain muscle mass, burn fat, and improve your range of motion. You should include each of the three essentials at least one time per week for optimal benefit.
- Check your messages – Your body is very diligent at sending you messages while exercising, so pay attention. If you experience any pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or other symptoms, it may be a sign of improper form or a more serious condition. Be sure to tell your physical therapist should you experience any abnormal signs.
“It’s important to occasionally change up your exercise routine, not only to keep your body engaged in various actions, but also to keep your workout from feeling dull and monotonous. A physical therapist can show you new exercises that work the same areas, but in a different approach, so you are still performing the right movements and reaping the most benefits,” added Deziel.
With clinical expertise and advanced training as movement specialists, physical therapists offer a wealth of knowledge about the body’s ability to respond to new exercises and training regimens. Be sure to consult with your physician prior to starting a new exercise program or if you have medical concerns.