The new year is a time filled with new fitness and health goals for people of all ages. While the increase in people valuing their health is wonderful, it often leads to avoidable injuries from inexperienced individuals. Before you begin trying to improve your health with exercise, you need to put your physical health first by learning how to exercise safely!

Don’t Try It Alone

It can be tempting to jump head first into a new exercise routine without consulting anyone, but that could be disastrous for your body. You should see your physician to discuss your new workout plan and see if they have any concerns or restrictions they would like you to follow. Once you’ve been given the all clear from your doctor, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional trainer to establish what your goals are and how to achieve them safely. A trainer will teach you how to perform exercises safely by maintaining the correct form, knowing your limits, and setting reasonable goals.

Variety is Key

Don’t go to the gym and jump on the same machines every day unless you want to injure yourself sooner rather than later. Similar exercises should be spread out by at least 48 hours in between. That doesn’t mean you can’t work out every day, it just means you have to have variety in your day to day routine. Each day you can focus on a different area of the body, giving the areas you’ve worked the days before a chance to heal and recover. Remember, every workout does not have to be a full body workout!

Stick to 10 Percent

Health professionals recommend never increasing by more than 10 percent each week. What does that mean? If you’re doing strength training, only increase your weight and repetitions by 10 percent or less each week. If you’re doing cardio, only increase duration or speed and intensity by 10 percent or less each week. Some weeks you may feel ready to increase the full 10 percent, while others there may be no increase at all. The key is to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard too fast. Trying to increase weight or speed before you feel confidently ready will quickly result in injury, causing you to lose all of the progress you previously made. Your trainer will be able to give you more tips and guidelines for increasing the difficulty of activities.