10 Physical Therapy Tips to Tackle your Next Movement Goal with Ease and Prevent Injury.
1. Be honest with where you are starting.
It’s natural to get excited by taking on a new challenge or working toward a new goal, but that enthusiasm can lead us out of the gate too quickly. Too much, too quickly is one of the most common causes of injury. Our bodies need to slowly and steadily ramp up to higher level efforts. Aim for 10% increases from your starting point each week. It takes about 6-8 weeks for our bodies to adapt to new demands. Remember that adaptation occurs not just with muscles, but also with bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves!
2. Consistency is key.
“Slow and steady” applies not only to our physical capacity for change, but mental as well. Showing up consistently is the key to habit creation and lifestyle change. Making small but manageable changes over time and sticking with them will lead to big long term results.
3. Don’t overlook the warm-up.
A simple 5-10 minute warm up not only prepares your body for activity but readies your mind for what you’re about to do! Examples: brisk walking, skipping, 5 minutes of body weight movement drills, dynamic stretching, a short yoga flow.
4. Adapt your program for your body and your goals.
We are all built and shaped differently and have different WHYs for our movements. Do not hesitate to modify movements so that they feel better for your body. Give yourself permission to be flexible with your program based on how your body is feeling on that day.
5. Give your body enough fuel.
Food is fuel. It's critical to eat enough to support your energy needs as well as gain strength and promote recovery after exercise. Most people are deficient in protein, which needs to increase as our level of activity increases. Most active adults should be consuming between 0.5g-1g of high quality protein per lb of body weight every day.
6. Water yourself regularly.
At a minimum, aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. Increase intake with increased exercise as well as environmental changes (hotter temperatures, etc.).
7. Prioritize quality sleep.
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If quality sleep is a challenge for you, try adopting a ‘sleep hygiene’ routine: stick to a consistent bedtime when possible, avoid caffeine 6-8 hours before your bedtime, turn off all screens 2 hours before bed, prioritize restful activities before bed such as meditation or deep breathing.
8. Listen to your body.
Our bodies are great at telling us what they need, however we can be bad listeners. If you are feeling tired or “off,” give yourself a rest or active recovery day. If you are feeling pain or discomfort it may be time to change your routine or modify a movement. Try to tune in to what your body is telling you.
9. Track your progress.
Tracking progress is an excellent way to stay motivated and keep yourself accountable. Setbacks are totally normal and shouldn’t be dwelled upon. Make an effort to remind yourself of the hard work you have put in and the progress you have accomplished.
10. HAVE FUN!
Life is too short to not enjoy the ride. Fitness and exercise should be fun! Bring a friend or family member, listen to your favorite music, laugh!
If you have questions about your movement goals or want to learn how to integrate more quality movement into your life, we are here to help. Reach out and schedule a time to chat.
Move well, move often and move joyfully!
Dr. Nicole Todisco, PT, DPT
Owner/Physical Therapist: Outside Movement Physical Therapy