You’re a weekend warrior, or at least you think you are.
You’ve been busy. It takes time and energy to duck all those invitations to holiday gatherings in order to watch football or marathon doses of sappy holiday movies on TV. Your recliner now is form-fitting after the workout you’ve given it.
Now, you believe, with the new year upon us, it’s time to get back to giving yourself a good workout.
Good idea, but take it easy and be smart about it, experts recommend.
Muscles can be your best friend or your worst enemy if you don’t properly stretch them and warm them up. Make sure the rest of your vital functions also are up for resuming or initiating fitness endeavors as you try to make good on resolutions for the new year.
After a workout or two, if you’re stiff and sore, be wise before trying to work through pain.
Whether caused by injury, arthritis or a variety of issues, working out can cause or exacerbate pain.
Many Ahwatukee-area experts are helping clients fight through the discomfort to achieve a more active, healthy lifestyle. While it may initially be painful, the act of exercising often can help the healing and rehabilitation of certain issues.
Anthony Celio, clinic director of Spooner Physical Therapy in Ahwatukee, said that activity does not have to be regimented.
A big problem he sees is people who sit at a desk or on the couch all day and then expect their body to work properly when they get up and move without so much as a warm up.
He said a healthy lifestyle must be worked toward consistently with regular activity, even for a short time.
“A lot of us, with work or whatever we do, unfortunately sit a big portion of the day,” Celio said. “Then, when we ask our body to do things, it’s not prepared properly.
“Even if you can stand up and stretch for five to ten minutes every couple of hours at work, or get up and just take a walk for 15-20 minutes, it can do a whole lot of good.”
Joe Micela, owner of Performance One Advanced Sports Training in Mesa says keep moving the joint, and keep the blood flowing around the joint and surrounding areas.
“It’s very important,” Micela said. “When we see individuals that have an arthritic condition or something like it, their first instinct is to be sedentary and not do anything.
“That’s actually worse. It can condense the blood flow, which weakens the area and then can lead to all other kind of issues.”
Exercise can help relieve pain as long as it is not being caused by overuse. The truth is some ailments will not completely go away.
Steve Carling, a physical therapist at Andersen Physical Therapy, which serves Gilbert and Chandler, said that while sometimes people with ailments like arthritis fear the oncoming discomfort, that does not mean they should quit working entirely.
He said exercising increases overall health, provided the exercise is done with proper form and is not increasing pain or causing further harm.
“You can’t change the arthritis, but you can definitely change the function of the joint a little bit, maybe more of the surrounding tissue,” Carling said. “That can be helpful. Obviously, there’s other non-related benefits to exercise that just help the body overall, so it’s multifaceted as long as you’re not making it worse.”
In that case, Carling added with a chuckle, “The saying ‘no pain, no gain’ may not apply.”
There are preventative measures before getting on the treadmill or lacing up the basketball shoes.
Massage, Tai Chi, yoga or assisted stretching can prepare the body, the joints and any hurting areas to take more of an impact and perform at a higher level with less discomfort.
“Active people are asking more of their bodies but haven’t necessarily changed the way they take care of themselves,” said Joe Magnacca, CEO of Massage Envy, headquartered in Scottsdale. “Conditioning, recovery and wellness routines aren’t complete without assisted stretching,”
A service such as Massage Envy’s Total Body Stretch helps clients increase flexibility. This helps the body recover, as well, and prevent further injuries.
“Assisted stretching is on target with the consumer trends we’re seeing and an important part of our strategy to grow with new services and products,” Magnacca said.