Make Orthopedic Health a Priority in the New Year with Bone-Healthy Exercise.

Starting the New Year out right is something we all strive for. This month, we’re going to focus on helping you make your resolutions happen, starting with tips and resources for developing an orthopedic health exercise plan. Regular exercise can help prevent bone loss. Maintaining our muscle strength, coordination, and balance, through exercise can not only help us look and feel better, but it can also help us prevent falls and fractures.

Sure, starting an exercise program after a hiatus can seem a bit daunting, and there are multiple things you should consider. Do you have an existing health condition such as arthritis or osteoporosis? Have you recently undergone orthopedic surgery or are you recovering from an injury? What are you specifically trying to accomplish? It’s important to tailor goals to fit you, and it’s important to speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program.  Here are some ideas to help get you started…

Slow and Steady (and Safe) Wins the Race

Start out slow. Give yourself the opportunity to be successful by making a point to not burn out too quickly. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests choosing initial exercises that are enjoyable and don’t leave you exhausted. If you’re resolving to make this a part of your daily life, you should have fun after all. Starting out with intense workouts hoping to see quick results is a pretty effective way to ensure seeing your resolution left in the dust. Not to mention, a strenuous workout after a sedentary lifestyle could lead to injury. Allowing for plenty of stretching, warm-up time and cool-down time can also help you avoid a painful sprain or more severe injury. Consider these orthopedic exercise safety tips.

Be Smart to Be Successful

Develop your road map. This includes making sure you have the right tools to achieve your goals, starting with your feet. Be sure to find a proper-fitting shoe to provide support, enhance your performance and avoid injury (getting blisters after your first workout can be as annoying as painful, and you don’t want to get set back after day one). Scheduling is a crucial part of sticking with an exercise program and accomplishing your goals- this goes for everyone from star athletes to fitness newcomers. First, figure out which days work best to fit in a moderate exercise session. This could even be 30 minutes of light activity or less (and don’t forget to give yourself “rest days” or days off). As your fitness program becomes a more natural part of your week, and you build strength and endurance, you can choose to lengthen your sessions. Determine the other equipment, tools and even tech you need (or just want to try), and this will help you figure out another pretty important part of your road map and schedule: exercise location.

Seek balance. A successful program typically includes three main elements: aerobic conditioningflexibility exercises and strength training. If possible, try to incorporate these elements into your schedule in a fun, safe and creative way- you definitely want to avoid boredom and keep things fresh.

Start slow. Stay safe. Be smart. Stick with it. And most importantly, tailor a program to you.

Here are some other great resources from American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to check out.