Now that the Christmas trees have come down and the last bites of fudge and turkey leftovers have officially made their exits, it’s time to take stock of our New Year’s resolutions. Did you make one this year? Are you sticking to it? Of course you are, and we’re proud of you!
If you resolved to get or stay fit in 2017, you’ve probably added some new workouts or increased your fitness activities. This sudden uptick in exercise can do a number on sensitive muscles and joints that may not be used to such use. But just because you find yourself suffering from achy muscles and joints, doesn’t mean you have to break your resolutions.
Here are four ways you can help maintain your fitness resolve while being kind to your hardworking body.
1. Stretch it out
Maybe you suffer from osteoarthritis or an old injury, or maybe it’s just been ages since you’ve worked out and your body is resistant to the change. Whatever the cause, when exercise is followed by throbbing, aching joint and muscle pain, it can be discouraging. It can make you want to quit. But avoiding exercise to avoid the pain is not a good plan. Lack of use will cause muscles to weaken and increase your joint pain over time. A better tactic is to engage in dynamic stretching to warm up your muscles to prepare for your workout. And don’t forget the cool down! Performing stretches at the end of your workout while your muscles are still warm is a great way to help them recover and improve your overall flexibility.
2. Switch it up
Maybe you love to run. Or perhaps there’s a particular fitness DVD that always worked for you in the past. It’s important to enjoy your workout, but working the same muscle groups every day can lead to overuse and burnout. Try mixing up your activities to give joints and muscles a break. Switching from high impact sports to something like swimming or yoga is not only gentler on your body, but offers some variety to help keep you engaged and more likely to stick to your fitness goals over time.
3. Strength train
Cardio is important to improve and maintain overall fitness levels, but strength training is key when it comes to building up muscles that can help protect and support your joints. To avoid pain and fatigue from over use, remember to alternate muscle groups so you aren’t weight training the same muscles two days in a row. If you’re new to strength training, don’t panic. There’s no need to invest in expensive machines, gym memberships, or free weights – here are three simple exercises you can do at home using two soup cans.
Even when you aren’t working out, you can still work on your muscle and joint pain. Consuming a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (think fish and flaxseed oil) and calcium (think dairy and leafy green vegetables) can help reduce inflammation and encourage strong bones. To ensure your body is receiving plenty of these and other important nutrients, try adding a targeted supplement such as SISU No. 7, with its combination of seven joint health ingredients. Full Spectrum Curcumin is another way to support healthy joints while also providing a host of other potential benefits for body and mind.
Muscle and joint pain can be tough. But remember why you’ve made these resolutions in the first place. With a combination of the right exercises alongside healthy nutritional and emotional support, you can make 2017 the year you reach your fitness goals!