It’s finally 2020 which means you have a couple of New Year’s resolutions to uphold.
One of the most popular is losing weight which involves working out and going back to the gym.
Here are some tips to help you head back to the gym (safely):
1. Talk to a doctor — Stop by your doctor’s office first. “It’s a good idea to see your physician or your physical therapist before going back to the gym,” said Karen Litzy, spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association, in an interview with TIME. Litzy said the doctor can perform a health check up to make sure you are healthy enough to go back to the gym and can give you safety tips, too.
2. Gym memberships — Some gyms let members join for a discounted rate before paying a monthly membership fee. While it’s not required to join a gym in order to become a healthier version of yourself, going to a gym has benefits such as access to a personal trainer and specialized workout machines. “The main advantage to joining a gym is to have access to a wide variety of exercise equipment,” said Alex Petruska, a senior physical therapist at the Sports Medicine Center of Massachusetts General Hospital.
3. Stretch it out — When you head back to the gym, you may feel a little stiff. Increasing your flexibility through stretching will help with blood circulation, according to Shape.com. How does stretching help your body? Working out with stiff muscles can cause pain or even tears.
4. Set a goal — While it can feel overwhelming heading back to the gym after a couple months (or years), it can help by setting goals instead of just mindlessly working out your muscles. “Set yourself a performance related goal – like training for a 10k – rather than a weight goal, and your fitness and aesthetics will fall into place,” Harry Jameson, a personal trainer, said in an interview with Women’s Health.
5. Take it slow — One of the biggest mistakes people make going back to the gym is overtraining. Why should this matter to you? Overtraining can cause injury or burnout. “If you feel like you can’t move after a day of training, that’s an indicator of overtraining,” said Ashley Borden, a fitness and lifestyle consultant. While she said it’s normal to feel a little sore, you should not be in extreme pain either.