Regular exercise is good for you!
The benefits of regular exercise have been well documented and proven to increase the quality of life, improve sleep and decrease depression levels. There is no doubt that we should be staying active and working out regularly. But as we get older, our bodies become more prone to injury, so we cannot just jump into doing HIIT or weightlifting or long-distance running. Movement that results in injuries is no good for your health! Working out smart includes knowing your health history and your own body’s limits.
It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor prior to beginning a new exercise regimen. If you are seeing a chiropractor or a physiotherapist regularly (and you should be!), discussing your goals and plans with them are also a fantastic idea. But if you are itching to get started and simply cannot wait to talk to a health practitioner, there are some things to do to make your workouts safer.
1) Warm-up and stretch
Regardless of your chosen exercise, do not forego a warm-up and a light stretch before you begin. It is tempting to just jump in and start your run or tennis match, but there is a reason why all guided fitness classes begin with a warm-up. Move gently to prepare the muscles for more intense workouts.
2) Pay attention to your body’s cues
As you transition to more vigorous exercise and more intense effort, check in with your body regularly. Pay attention to your breathing, heart rate, any pangs or pains in your sides. If you feel discomfort anywhere, do not ignore it! “Powering through” may be a good idea when you are slightly fatigued but not when you are hurting.
3) Do not force it!
If any exercise is causing discomfort beyond normal muscle work, you may want to shelf it until you see a health practitioner. If you are feeling like you are not doing as well as you used to (for example, you used to be able to touch your toes but cannot anymore), do not force it! This is how many athletic injuries that we at Holistic Medical Clinic see on the regular happen. Switch to a different exercise or lower the intensity.
4) Modify exercises
No matter what kind of exercise you enjoy doing, if it’s causing pain or injury, it is not worth it. This does not mean you need to stop doing it completely, far from it. Because our practitioners are very skilled in injury prevention and treatment, they can always find ways to modify your favourite activities. This will allow you to continue practicing them safely. All you need to do is ask! Our chiropractor, Dr. Payan, is particularly fond of finding creative ways to allow his patients to practice what they love. Be it yoga or martial arts, he will suggest modifications and additional stretches to properly warm up the body.
5) See a sports health practitioner regularly
Routine visits to a chiropractor and a physiotherapist will keep you healthy, fit and injury-free. Prevention is the best treatment! Looking out for your body as you nourish it with regular exercise is the cornerstone of wellness care. Contact us.