As one year comes to a close and another begins, people begin to set goals and make
resolutions. Losing weight, getting to the gym more often or getting into “better shape” are all common. Each of these require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is great for your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. However, ramping up your activity level too quickly after a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry can lead to pain, injury and disappointment if your body isn’t ready for it.
Your physical therapist is an expert in human movement, and can help you safely reach your fitness goals. People think of PTs as the person to see after an injury, but a visit before you change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place. An evaluation by your physical therapist will include assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns – think jumping, running, squatting, carrying. Some physical therapists even use a standardized assessment, such as the Functional Movement Screen.
Most common injuries from new fitness routines are caused by underlying weakness, range of motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns, which your physical therapist will identify during your assessment and before you are injured. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and et you safely moving into the New Year!
The other common way people are injured while working towards their resolution is with overtraining, or doing too much too soon. Physical therapists are also experts in exercise prescription and program design. Your physical therapist can help you create a routine specific to your needs and goals that will progress appropriately and keep you out of trouble.
Don’t wait to see your physical therapist until after you’re injured. In this case, it’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Seeing your physical therapist before you start on your resolution can keep you on track, injury free, and help you reach your goals for the New Year!
Schedule your annual physical therapist exam or learn more here!
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