“When you’re at the gym feeling like you’ll never be one of those people who look like they’ve been at it their entire lives, remember that they all started somewhere.” – Unknown

We all do it.

We’re speaking of New Year’s resolutions, of course. A time-honored practice that is often the butt of jokes and the source of self-inflicted guilt. And we’ve been doing this for a long time.

As Merriam-Webster’s website notes,

“New Year’s resolutions have existed since the early 19th century, and perhaps as far back as the late 17th century. Not only were people making resolutions 200 years ago, but they were also breaking them and using them as excuses for bad behavior before the New Year, much like today.”

Resolving to Strive for Fitness – Again

Maybe we don’t call them “New Year’s Resolutions” and we shy away from that whole charade because we know most of us never keep them. But we all make resolutions.

Of course, we might call them something else like “life goals” or “commitments.” But the bottom line is that almost all of us make promises to ourselves that involve some type of change or self-improvement. And, for many of us, this usually includes getting in shape or getting “back” in shape.

In fact, resolving to get fit is probably the most common aspiration stated by Americans year after year. For example, the top three goals listed on Country Living’s “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2022” are:

  • Lose weight.
  • Eat healthier or change diet.
  • Get fitter and take more exercise.

And a post at GoSkills.com notes that, among the top ten most common resolutions each new year, the top two are,

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight

Of course, there is nothing at all wrong – and a great deal that is right – about wanting to get physically fit. The problem is that, for many, it is a new endeavor or something they haven’t done for quite a while. And that can often lead to pain and even injury.

Resolving to Avoid Pain While Pursuing Fitness

According to data from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the most common sports injuries are sprains and strains that affect your joints and muscles.

Sprains are overstretched or torn ligaments that support your joints such as your ankle, knee, or wrist. A strain, on the other hand, is generally less severe than a sprain and occurs when you stretch your muscles or tendons more than you should.

These types of pain and possible injury are common among those who are working out or exercising for the first time, or for the first time after several years of no exercise. 

It’s been pointed out that the most common causes of exercise related injuries are:

  • Overuse or repetitive movements.
  • Lifting too much weight too fast.
  • Improper form.
  • Not allowing time for rest.

The good news is that, with proper instruction and understanding the dynamics of physical exertion on the body, most of these strains, sprains, and injuries can be easily avoided

However, there are also those who carry within them the seeds of pain that is the result of preexisting movement dysfunction, nerve entrapment, or other soft tissue constrictions caused by adhesions such as subdermal scar tissue.

And it is the resulting pain that can be triggered by otherwise properly executed exercise or workout activities that can cause chronic pain issues.

One of the keys to avoiding or mitigating these conditions is to practice conscious body awareness.

Staying in Tune with Your Body for Pain-Free Fitness

What does body awareness really entail? 

As one source points out,

“Body awareness is a form of mindfulness that helps you take better care of yourself, maximize exercise time and minimize risk for injury. The more in tune you are with your body, the more optimally it functions.”

An article in Psychology Today offers some practical pointers for exercising while being aware of our bodies, 

“Good body awareness is difficult to measure scientifically, but can teach us how to recognize a strenuous workout that, instead of leading to pain and injury, improves performance, muscle balance, and everyday functionality.

This means paying more attention to how we perform exercises. To do this, we can add a few small pointers to our workouts:

  • Perform each exercise at a slower pace to carefully observe each part of the exercise.
  • Perform each exercise with less intensity. Carey (2005) recommends 50 to 60 percent of our maximum for an optimal intensity. This helps to avoid damage to muscle tissue.
  • Perform multi-joint exercises that use both arms and legs. This helps to avoid overloading one muscle and trains body awareness.
  • Observe carefully where you feel the exercise to further train body awareness and avoid muscle tissue damage.”

We understand that, despite our best efforts, there are still times when pain occurs and even chronic or recurring pain can become an issue. Typically, we either learn to “live with it” or we try to minimize it ourselves with OTC pain relievers.

But there is a solution.

Becoming Fit This Year and Pain-Free with Pain and Performance Solutions

The good news is that you can not only recover from your pain but become pain-free. And the first step towards making that happen is making an appointment with Pain and Performance Solutions and let us get to know you and your pain issues.

During your appointment, we’ll endeavor to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of pain. After a full examination, we will then be able to determine the type of treatment needed to help you on your road to recovery.

Often, when pain does occur, your body will try to compensate for the pain in order to allow you to move with less pain.

This is known as compensatory pain or movement compensation. However, because your body has shifted that pain around to compensate for your discomfort, this often leads to other areas of pain.

And this often means that the pain you are experiencing today may have actually started with another injury you might have previously sustained.

Chronic pain relief through the use of proven therapies such as Active Release Techniques® and  Proprioceptive – Deep Tendon Reflex® can only begin once we understand where your pain started.

Getting your body to work properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery and your trust in us and your openness is key. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.

You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.