Watching the Olympic Games may inspire you to join a gym or a recreational sports team, but the experts at Coliseum Health System encourage you to ease into your new routine.
"Seeing the energy and excitement of events like the Olympics is pretty inspirational to all of us," says Jarin Bostic, Exercise Physiologist at Coliseum Medical Centers. "But what people sometimes forget is that these athletes didn't just get up one day and run 100 meters in 10 seconds."
Going to the gym, field or court and doing as much as you can, as fast as you can, is not a healthy or smart way to get in shape for anyone. Starting slowly, working new muscles and challenging yourself physically and mentally are the best ways to begin new physical routines without injuring yourself, Bostic advises.
Health experts at Coliseum Health System recommends taking these steps if you're about to start doing physical activities that are new or different for you:
Get a physical from your doctor.
This will help you set appropriate goals and know your limitations in advance. It's also important to make sure your doctor knows what your plans are, so they can give you the best advice on how to proceed.
Eat right and hydrate.
Feeding your muscles the right kinds of foods and keeping your body hydrated will help improve the quality of your life and your workouts.
Don't ignore your body.
A certain amount of aches and pains may be expected, depending on the type of activities you're doing, but any popping sounds in your joints, or sudden sharp pain in your body can be a sign of something more serious. Stop what you're doing and see a doctor immediately if you suffer an injury.
"Getting into a healthy routine is wonderful," Bostic says. "But don't be afraid to try new things, adding or supplementing different parts of your workout. Find the right mix of interval cardio activities, stretching and strength training for you."
Remember to follow the advice of your doctor when exercising. You should also check that equipment is working properly before using it. If you're exercising in a public space, take precautions against getting athlete's foot or other fungal infections.