With a new year come new goals and one of the most common goals is to prioritize your health and exercise more. We want to make sure your body, specifically your back and spine, are protected when working out. Here are 5 tips for how to make it safely BACK to the gym.
Tip 1: Warm Up Properly:
Add a 10-minute warm-up to your routine. You can add in some specific stretches that will allow your joints to learn the movement correctly and reduce the risk of injury. Examples of stretches can be a static hip flexor stretch, a lunge with an overhead reach, or a downward dog position with a plank walkout. Select stretches that target the body parts you will be working on during your workout. Also, a good warm-up can start off with light cardio, starting with a walk to a slow jog on a treadmill. This will safely elevate your heart rate and get your joints used to the impact.
Tip 2: Choose your Weight Wisely
Strength training is extremely beneficial. It can prevent muscle loss, keep your bones strong, and increase mobility. To maximize the benefits and reduce injury, choose the correct weight. Using a weight too light or heavy can compromise your form, which is where we start to see injuries. First, start off with the correct form. Once you master that, add weight to the exercise you are doing. If you can get through many reps easily, the weight is too light. It is too heavy if you struggle to lift weights and maintain your form. Also, you may be able to use heavier weights when working on different muscle groups. For example, your glutes are typically stronger than your shoulders.
Tip 3: Pay Attention to Your Form
Having the correct posture can make a huge difference in your workout. If you find yourself slouching, roll your shoulders back, and hold your stomach tight. Don’t forget to breathe!
Tip 4: Stop if it Hurts
There should be a difference between the “burn” and pain. For muscle strength to occur the muscles must be stressed. This may cause soreness for a couple of days and fatigue. If you are experiencing sharp pain, swelling, pain that gets worse over time, or days-long fatigue, that is not normal. This may be a result of your muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or bones being stressed too quickly or excessively. You should discontinue those exercises before permanent damage occurs.
We now offer physical therapy in our office and have a dedicated licensed physical therapist on staff. Schedule a consultation with them or your chiropractor to see what exercises may be best for you.
Tip 5: Add Stretching to Your Routine
The best time for a static stretch is when your muscles are warm, following a workout. Try adding these stretches into your cool-down routine. Hold each for 30 seconds.
Area Stretching How to Do It
Hamstrings Using a band, lay on your back, rope wrapped around your foot, and pull your leg straight
Glute Lay on the back with a knee to chest, pull to the opposite shoulder
Groin Butterfly pose and press down on your knees
Hip Flexors Standing, lunge forward keeping the back foot straight, keep the chest up and push butt-forward