NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- New Year's resolutions to "start working out" top the list of many Americans. Resolution makers embark on new workout regimens with good intentions, whether to lose weight, have more energy, or age more gracefully. As the six-week mark approaches, enthusiasm can start to wane, bringing training to a crashing halt. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), more than half of those who join a gym will drop out in 6 months or less. Momentum dissipates, along with any gains they made from their New Year's workout regimen.
Detraining is Essential
Exercise time-outs are inevitable, says Justin Farnsworth, DPT, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with SPEAR Physical Therapy's 44th Street facility. In fact, detraining, or taking breaks from intense training to regroup physically and avoid mental burnout, should be a regular part of every fitness routine.
However, stopping workouts abruptly—and resuming them too quickly—can greatly increase your chances of injury.
Farnsworth sees firsthand injuries caused by on again-off again training, the most common being tendonitis, IT Band Syndrome and Planter Fasciitis—particularly for runners.
"Inconsistent training does not allow the body to adapt to the stress of exercise," he says. "In order to build strength and fitness, time and consistency in the gym is required."
The Gradual Re-Boot
While you may be tempted to pick up where you left off after detraining, there are safer ways to jump-start a training routine.
Farnsworth recommends a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) prior to starting any new exercise program. During an FMS, a physical therapist will look at your strength, flexibility and range of motion. They will discover your impairments and suggest ways to overcome them.
According to Michael Virgile, PT, DPT, CSCS, Assistant Director at SPEAR's Chelsea facility, this type of assessment is most important if you've been injured in the past and want to prevent re-injury.
"If you have restrictions in movement [due to a prior injury], even if you try your hardest, you might not be able to do an activity correctly," Virgile notes. "You'll want a trained professional to make sure you can do whatever you're doing safely so you can stick with it."
Once you've been cleared for your chosen workout, Virgile suggests a progressive approach to starting and increasing activity. For runners, he recommends an incremental boost in mileage of 10 percent per week. For strength or general conditioning, start with twice a week for an hour, then increase the number of sessions and the intensity about every 3-4 weeks.
Staying the Course
Realistic short- and long-term goals, Farnsworth says, are the key to lasting motivation.
"Ask yourself: 'What am I trying to do and why?' Is it for weight loss? Set achievable weekly, monthly and quarterly weight loss goals. Is it to build strength? Set goals in certain lifts. Maybe you want to run a marathon. Set distance and time goals.
"And don't beat yourself up for a few days missed at the gym. True fitness gains are the result of years of consistent training. A few missed days will not set you back."
About SPEAR Physical Therapy
SPEAR Physical Therapy is headquartered at 120 E. 56th Street in Manhattan. Founded in a single room in Manhattan in 1999, the company has grown to eleven locations that treat over 15,000 patients a year. In 2016, SPEAR was named the Nation's Top Physical Therapy Practice by the American Physical Therapy Association.
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SOURCE SPEAR Physical Therapy