A New Year, a Slimmer You!

get-fit-apmr-t167625444Are you determined to slim down and tone up this year? Good for you. You probably already know that getting into shape can benefit both your body and mind. It can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, boost your mood and keep your heart healthy—just to name a few things.

What you might not know: a physical therapist can design a personalized exercise plan to help you reach your goal.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes per week (that’s two and one-half hours) of moderate-intensity exercise—walking briskly, gardening, ballroom dancing, biking or water aerobics.

Alternatively, you can do 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous exercise—running, swimming laps, race walking or jumping rope.

Choose an activity you’ll enjoy—perhaps with a buddy—so you’ll stick with it. Just be sure to use proper form so you don’t get injured. Here are some simple ways to protect your muscles and joints while doing the following popular activities:

Running: We can help you sidestep common foot problems by analyzing your running style and offering advice on the safest footwear and orthotics. To avoid foot pain, start slowly and increase your runs in small increments; avoid hard and uneven surfaces; and tell us if you experience any pain.

Biking: We’ll show you how to make sure your bike is the right fit. Having a low or out-of-reach handlebar can lead to neck pain; a low saddle can lead to knee pain; and too-long or too-low handlebars can cause lower back pain. To reduce your risk of injury, change your hand position on the handlebars frequently; keep your knees slightly bent when you pedal; and avoid rocking your hips while pedaling.

Gardening: Tending to your veggies can stress or strain your muscles and joints—especially if you’ve been sedentary. To avoid injury, take a 10-minute walk and stretch your upper and lower back, neck, arms and legs before you start. Use a wheelbarrow to move tools and heavy planting materials. Keep one foot on the ground to stabilize your back, and use kneepads or a pillow if you need to kneel on the ground. Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness and cramping, and bend at your knees if you need to grab something or pull a weed.

If you want to learn more about how to get in shape safely this year, contact us here.

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