CALL TODAY: 210-545-7171

Getting In Shape for the New Year


Nearly two years of COVID lethargy has taken its toll on many people. You may have put on a few extra pounds, and you’ve made a commitment to shape up for the New Year.

Whether you’re embarking on an exercise regimen for the first time or you’re a seasoned professional who seeks to get back in the groove, here are some tips to follow. (And remember — it’s best to consult your physician before you begin any workout program, especially if you have an underlying medical condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.)

Starting Your Exercise Program

Newbies often think that plunging into a hardcore fitness program will give them quick results. This just isn’t true. In fact, you’re opening yourself up to a greater chance of injury by taking on too much too soon. Slow and steady wins the race here. The same goes for experienced exercisers who think that they can just plunge right back into the rigorous routine when they haven’t exercised for one or two years.

Planning Your Program

Set goals. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to lose weight? You may think that a emphasis on cardiovascular exercise (running, treadmill, stationary bike) is all you need, but resistance training is also essential. Even after exercising, muscles at rest will continue to burn fat.

And if your primary goal is to build muscle, a combination of weight training and cardio is beneficial. In both instances, alternate training days is best — e.g., weights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and cardio on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Make sure to pick routines that include exercises that you enjoy doing. This will ensure that you’ll keep coming back for more. And take it slow — do plenty of stretching to keep your muscles limber and decrease the chance of injury.

Home or Gym?

Some people prefer to work out at home for a number of reasons. They may be intimidated by the idea of going to a gym or they may want the convenience and economy of working out at home.

Self-motivation is a key factor when committing to a home exercise routine. But make sure you don’t turn your treadmill into a clothesline — it’s funny because it’s true.

Some people prefer joining a gym or club. They enjoy being around others as well as the variety of equipment options available. Additionally, they can take fitness classes (such as spinning or Zumba) and they can reserve sessions with personal trainers. This regular scheduling helps to keep them committed to their goal.

You may want to begin a home regimen that will give you the self-confidence to join a gym later. And whether you work out at home or at a club, make sure to include exercises that can be performed both inside and outside. That helps to break up the monotony and ensures you can continue your routine, regardless of the weather.

Use the Right Equipment

Shoes. Make sure your shoes fit properly, are in good condition and provide adequate support. This is especially essential if you plan on running, whether on the street or on a treadmill. Don’t just grab an old pair of sneakers out of the closet. Get a new pair of shoes designed for your specific workout plans at a store where the salespeople are knowledgeable and can provide recommendations.

Home equipment. If you’re planning on creating a home set-up, test the equipment before you buy. You can do this at a fitness store, where it’s set up for this purpose, or at a fitness center. In fact, many gyms offer day passes where you can try out several different pieces of equipment.

Invest in good equipment. Saving a couple hundred bucks on inferior equipment isn’t worth the potential injury it may cause you.

New technologies. From heart rate monitors to apps that measure distance and calories burned, technologies are available to help track your progress and adjust your routine as your strength and stamina increases.

Make Your Schedule Realistic and Attainable

Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or you’re more experienced, you’ll benefit from following a prescribed schedule. Choose the days that will be reserved for cardio and those that will be for weight training. Include days off to rest. Vary your routine with different types of exercises to prevent your interest and enthusiasm from wavering.

Dr. Alexandra Matthews, Sports Medicine specialist with the Orthopedic Performance Institute can evaluate your physical condition and prescribe an exercise program to fit your goals. Call (210) 545-7171 to schedule an appointment.


Comments are closed.