Since Father Time can’t turn back the hands of time, the New Year is the perfect time to set new goals. The most typical goals are losing weight and getting more fit. If these are your New Year resolutions, I’ve got some pointers that may help.
A resolution is essentially a commitment you make to yourself. Make your commitments more powerful by writing them down. By looking at them often, you can help yourself stay on track. Maybe even post them on sticky notes on your refrigerator or anywhere else where you tend to look throughout the day.
Understand the motivation behind your resolutions. How did you come up with your resolutions? Are they truly your own? Or did you make them because your doctor or someone else suggested them? It’s extremely common for people to experience a major health crisis before making any type of lifestyle changes, so if you haven’t already done so, maybe it’s time to OWN your New Year resolutions!
Do you have any support from family members or friends who care about you? Do you know someone with similar goals? Shared resolutions can be very helpful as the buddy system works well in many situations.
If you already have your resolutions and understand your motivation behind them, you’re ready for the next step. This involves putting your resolutions in a list form comprised of smaller goals. When doing this, make sure these goals are realistic. In this way, they will be attainable and translate into a greater degree of success.
As you start experiencing success, the whole process becomes easier. However, if you’re not seeing success, don’t lose your enthusiasm. Stay with the plan and don’t think of your goals as sacrifices. Instead, imagine that they are part of a game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but continuing to play the game is what’s most important.
Devices such as a Fitbit that record and chart sleep patterns, physical activity, and food choices can help you become more aware of your habits and track your goals. If you are someone who thrives on prizes and has a smart phone or a computer, this kind of a device is probably for you. (I got a Serengeti on mine the other day — woo hoo!) Competing with others in a group toward goals can also be helpful.
Now, on to the nitty-gritty of exercise… Be sure to warm-up before starting any form of exercise. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a competitive athlete, stretching and warming up is essential. Our physiology contains special cells called tendon stretch receptors. This tendon stretch receptor cell doesn’t turn on until your first stretch, because the body is very energy efficient and won’t waste energy on maintaining the vigilance of this cell monitor unless there is a need. Even dogs stretch before heading out for a walk. The tendon stretch receptors monitor the amount of pull on the ends of the muscles, called tendons, so that you don’t damage muscle or bone. Many injuries are sustained when stretching is neglected. Attend our Essential Exercises workshop to learn the best ways of stretching.
Be sure to pick an exercise wisely. Running, jogging, sprinting, and walking are all noble forms of exercise but not everyone should run. Running has been shown to result in a number of different degenerative injuries to many overly enthusiastic participants, especially those without the right footwear. Another surprising ill effect of running is that the level of ROS [reactive oxygen species] is higher. This means that the level of damaging free radical oxygen is higher due to the higher continued level of oxygen usage. The ROS ages your body faster. However, the severity of this problem is influenced by diet, toxin load, and genetics.
From a safety standpoint, walking is usually the best form of exercise. Fast walking provides about 80% of the beneficial effects of running with less injury. People often run because they believe it to be the fastest way to get results. This is offset by injury and heart attack. Fast walking is a great way to start an exercise plan.
Free weight lifting is another excellent form of exercise. When lifting an appropriate amount of free weight, you engage both the primary muscles as well as smaller stabilizer muscles. This doesn’t happen with weight machines that stabilize for you. A long burn time afterwards is an added bonus. Burn time is the amount of time after an exercise that the body continues to burn energy at a greater rate than its present activity level. We also have advanced classes in this area for patients that have completed the basic stretching and are at a certain level of daily activity in that area.
The above activities are a great entry point into exercise although there are lots of activities that can help you achieve your goals. Pool exercises are especially good for people that have had debilitating injuries. Water activities can be enjoyable as well as challenging. Some of my greatest endurance tests were in my scuba training.
To be successful in building a strong body with longevity and endurance, we need to provide our body with clean, healthy food, and high quality organic-based nutritional supplements when indicated. Although most of the body’s nutritional needs should be supplied through one’s diet, supplements have become more essential due to the declining levels of nutrients in food. This is also the reason why organic food is a much better investment than conventional food.
The body is able to be in control of itself through a good healthy nervous system. A chiropractic adjustment works with the nervous system to help the rest of your bodily systems function properly. All of the aspects of your fitness plan will fall apart if you don’t pay attention to your structure. Exercise, eat well, supplement wisely, get your adjustments, and enjoy your new beginnings!
Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.
Join Dr. William H. Karl, D.C. Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7 pm and learn how to develop a successful fitness plan for 2016. Please register for this workshop at 734-425-8220. For more information, see www.KarlWellnessCenter.com