With the arrival of fall, many of us will find time to explore the great outdoors or indoor exercise activities. For those who have experienced swelling or pain in their joints, muscles, or back, an appointment with us is highly recommended before making any substantial changes in your exercise program.
Develop an exercise regimen that suits your interests and abilities. Start slowly and move forward gradually. If a person has limited mobility and areas of pain, trying to walk 5 miles or do 50 sit-ups on the first day will be ineffective. Remember the 4 parts of a workout:
- Warm-up: Start with about 5 to 8 minutes of light aerobic exercises in your comfort zone, giving your body time to increase blood supply to the muscles so that they have greater flexibility.
- Stretching and Extending: Take some time to stretch your muscles. For those with a history of pain or under chiropractic care, talk specifically with the doctor about beneficial exercises and those that should be avoided. Stretching after your warm-up reduces the chance of injury.
- Aerobic Activity: Plan on reaching a goal of at least 20 minutes of exercise during this session, three times a week. When starting out, set the number lower–maybe 5 to 10 minutes of continuous exercise–and be sure not to cross any pain thresholds. Slow down if you feel tired or discomfort. Add a little time each week. The goal is to improve the frequency, duration, and intensity of your exercise over a period of time.
- Cool-down: Bring the intensity down rather than coming to a complete stop. Perform simple stretches after doing your aerobic session. If you notice any aches that persist, tell your chiropractor.
Finding the Right Balance and Staying on the Plan
Successful exercise plans require commitment. Start simple and increase your capacity to do longer aerobic sessions. If possible, find an exercise partner who can offer support. Build exercise sessions into your calendar so that other they become a part of your schedule. Even someone with a very busy routine should have the ability to schedule some stretches or lighter aerobic time. Take the stairs if you are able.
By parking a little farther away, you reward yourself with a few extra minutes of exercise.
Start with shorter sessions and track your activities. If you keep an exercise log, focus on positive accomplishments. Make it more than a place to record your weight. Have your workout clothes or the gym bag waiting in the car or by the door so they can motivate you.
Remember that your chiropractor is part of your support team. Before starting a new routine, schedule an appointment to discuss the best way to move forward. Be sure to get in touch with your chiropractor if you notice any pain or soreness.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact The Center for Spine, Sport, & Physical Medicine today.