With the New Year, many of us have made resolutions to exercise. A regular exercise program is the first step in staying well. The proven physical benefits of exercise – improved joint flexibility, strength, fitness, as well as more energy, and better pain relief will help you optimize your physical mobility now and in the future. The HSS Women’s Sports Medicine Center offers these tips when beginning an exercise program:
- Consult with your physician and seek the guidance of an experienced physical therapist; performing the wrong exercises can place undue stress on the joint and exacerbate the condition.
- If you haven’t exercised in a long time, start slowly and ease yourself back in. Plan to simply become more active to start. Start with short 5-10 minute bouts of activity and gradually work up to 30 minutes of accumulated moderate activity most days of the week. With a gradual progression, you’ll avoid getting so sore and tired that you’ll want to stop. Your first goal is consistency.
- Set reasonable goals as it may take a while to change your habits and for your body to adapt to the demands of exercise. Excessive exercise will leave you sore and discouraged. Plan a gradual increase in activity that includes taking days off and congratulate yourself for each day’s success.
- Take care of your feet. Comfortable supportive shoes appropriate to your chosen activity are the most important piece of gear you can invest in. Whether you want to walk, bike, or take an exercise class the right shoe will offer you essential cushioning and support.
- Plan ahead. Life is busy and finding the time to fit in activity can be challenging. Just like you’d plan when you’re going to fit in grocery shopping or appointments, you should plan when you’ll exercise. Some days, that may mean 10 minutes in the morning and another 10 minutes after work. Exercise doesn’t have to be exhausting or lengthy to benefit you. Grab it when you can!