Whether you’re a seasoned gym enthusiast or a newbie, the benefits are clear: a fruitful workout can give you a dopamine rush and the sense of deep satisfaction associated with it, which further fuels your feelings of optimism and happiness.
Trying a new activity can transform your self-image, because physical accomplishments change how you think about yourself and what you're capable of. A gym workout can even make you more sensitive to joy. The comprehensive benefits of a workout are immense!
How much exercise is optimal?
But, knowing how much exercise is too much can be tricky. We need to listen to our bodies, (and often, a physical therapist) to find out if we’re pushing things too far and need to take a much-needed break. Here are some tips to keep you injury-free and healthy while you’re conditioning and strengthening that wonderful body of yours!
Focus on multiple muscle groups
When you’re training at the gym or at home, be sure to train your whole body and not just one muscle group. When you focus on one muscle group in isolation, it can lead to overuse injuries as well as the lack of development in other areas of your body that you need for other movement and exercise.
Compound movements and exercises require multiple muscle groups to work in tandem to effectively perform the maneuver. If you’re not doing them already, add squats, lunges, overhead presses and pushups.
Vary your exercise types
Focusing only on cardio when you’re at the gym might help you improve stamina and endurance, but it won’t help you with mobility or in moving your couch. Work to implement a comprehensive program that helps you build functional strength, improves your endurance, and increases your range of motion and flexibility in all your muscle groups.
Get passionate about your workouts
Are you excited about your weekly workouts, or do you dread them? If you’re worried and stressed about working out, you may be setting yourself up for an injury.
Disinterest and boredom can lead to poor form and technique. You may choose the incorrect amount of weight, forget the number of repetitions you’re doing or you may unsafely speed through them.
Combat boredom by trying a new class, switching up your routine, listening to your favorite playlist or working out with a friend.
You may also dread your workout because you need more instruction on how to do your exercises properly and most efficiently, and you feel like you’re floundering. Or, you may just need some time to rest if you feel sore.
If you aren’t excited to get up and head to the gym, be mindful and realize you may need more instruction, or a few days of rest to recover before you can get back in the game.
Listen to your soreness
If you do feel muscle soreness, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is one of the side effects that can stem from a workout and the intense stress you can place on your muscles.
When you feel muscle aches, tightness or stiffness that extends longer than 24-48 hours after a workout, you’ll need to reassess your routine so you don’t aggravate a previous injury or develop new ones.
Treat gym injuries with physical therapy
The best way to handle any prolonged soreness or pain during or after a strenuous workout is to stop what you’re doing and seek the advice of your physical therapist. Some of the most common gym injuries include back, shoulder, knee, ankle and wrist pain.
Gym injuries don’t need to slow you down! A great physical therapist is a movement expert who can help you get back to your favorite workouts.
Staying active and focusing on healthy living and wellness goals depends on seeking treatment after you’ve gotten injured, or even better, before you get injured at all! Physical therapy will help you alleviate pain, improve function, restore mobility and help you create a plan for optimal workouts to feel stronger and better than ever.
I’d love to work with you to help create an injury-free exercise program tailored exactly to you and your lifestyle. You can call me at 720-320-4212, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Here’s to your best health!
Dr. Trish PT, DPT