Dr. Riley gives you some tips on staying fit and healthy during the holiday season.
It’s the holiday season, and many of us are probably likely making poor decisions with diet, exercise, those sorts of things. This time of year, I start fielding a handful of questions of, “What type of exercises would you recommend? Would you recommend a gym or a trainer?” whatever the case may be. Over the years, I’ve kind of simplified this to three things.
The first thing, what are your fitness goals? What are you trying to achieve? As many of us get a little bit older, it’s more about health and wellness. If you’re a little bit younger, it might be more about building strength, those types of things. So I think number one, it’s very important that we take a look at what goals we’re looking at. Are you looking for more aerobic output? Whatever the case may be. So maybe jot these goals down. I always think it’s a good idea with anything that we do in life that we establish some goals, get them down on paper. We can visualize it, we can look at it, and it gives you something to work for.
Secondly, I would treat reactivation into exercise kind of like a doctor’s visit. What I mean by that is let’s take some sort of assessment. Now, I’m not suggesting that you need a to go see someone for this, or go to your doctor to start exercising. But what are some of your physical limitations? Do you lack some mobility? Do you understand that you have maybe some hamstring flexibility issues? Do you sit a lot? Have you had low back surgery?
There’s a host of things that you might want to ask yourself. And from there, we can start to establish an appropriate plan moving forward. I talk about treatment plans in my office all the time, that without an appropriate diagnosis and appropriate plan, I don’t know how you can have the appropriate outcome. So I think as we start to consider getting back into the gym and exercising, it’s appropriate and proper to take an assessment.
Lastly, with our goals and our assessment, what are my needs? Am I capable to work out? Should I go out and join a gym membership? Do I need a trainer? Are these some things that I can do on my own? I think the first two topics that I spoke about, goals and the assessment, could maybe lead you down this path.
I do think that another set of eyes is always best. I talk to my patients when working out in the gym area, we’re rehabbing a low back, biomechanics are paramount. They’re so, so very important that we maintain a neutral spine or we keep proper posture while we’re doing these exercises. As a patient, just the way our brains are wired, when you get into the gym, many times we may feel like we are performing that exercise correctly; however, if you were to look at a mirror, you see, “Wow, I’m really losing my posture. I’m starting to extend in my low back,” those types of things.
Me, myself, sometimes I need a little more motivation, so that’s why I need someone to hold me accountable, another set of eyes. I know there’s a lot of headway in these group fitness classes, where you could find a trainer, get three, four of your friends to go work out. There’s all types of fitness classes and activities, BODYPUMP, yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, old man’s CrossFit, all types of stuff that we can be doing.
I think that, to recap, establishing a proper goal first, taking an assessment of your body, and from those two, finding a roadmap down the proper path. Then, lastly, take your time, be patient, and stick with it. I know that many of us get motivated throughout the holiday season, but it’s not a bad thing to be exercising in March or July, or even next August. So be patient and stick with it. Remember, at the end of the day, it should be about health, wellness, prevention of injury, something that we speak about. So get into the gym, keep moving, as we always say here at Tulsa Spine and Rehab.