Paul M. D'Amore
At least 45 percent of the American population makes a New Year’s resolution to get fit, get healthy, or both. While some resolutionists lose interest and motivation early on, others are forced to call it quits due to injuries from using unhealthy exercise and dieting methods.
Health Resolutions That Cause Injuries
The New Year is a fresh start for anyone looking to begin a healthier lifestyle and the fitness and health industry counts on it. Free gym memberships, discounted products, and wild diet trends all come out around this time of the year just begging new fitness lovers to dive in quick. An estimated 450,000 people were injured due to exercise and exercise equipment back in 2012 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and these are only the ones who reported their injuries!
The biggest mistakes people make when beginning their New Year’s health resolution is choosing unrealistic goals and going overboard to meet them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to start your year off happy and healthy, but there is definitely a wrong way to go about it. These are the most dangerous health resolutions that can cause injuries and healthier suggestions for obtaining the same results.
Going To The Gym
January is the busiest month of the year at most gyms around the country. According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), more than 12% of gym memberships annually consist of eager New Year’s resolutionists who have no idea where to start. Gym equipment can be extremely dangerous for those who don’t know how to use it. These machines can put massive amounts of stress on your muscles and bones, easily causing fractures, strains, sprains, and other overuse injuries that can be hard to recover from. These are the most common newbie gym member mistakes:
- doing too many reps of one exercise
- lifting too much weight
- incorrectly using the machine
- using improper posture during exercises
- targeting the wrong group of muscles
Healthier Option: Don’t just go into the gym and hop on equipment. Set up a few appointments with a fitness trainer to help you develop a plan. Trainers are there to help you devise a strategy to meet your fitness goals while showing you how to properly use the equipment for your body type.
Losing a Set Number of Pounds
Losing weight is one of the most sought after health goals for the New Year. But a common misconception is that losing weight makes you healthier. There are several weight loss scams on the market just looking to prey on individuals desperate to lose weight and offering unhealthy products or methods to drop pounds quickly. Some of the most bizarre and harmful methods cited by health24 as currently trending include:
- Tapeworm tablets
- Cotton Ball Diet
- Vinegar Diet
- Slimming Soap
- Cigarette Diet
- ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Diet
- Baby Food Diet
- Grapefruit Juice Diet
- Arsenic diet pills
Diet pills and weight loss trends that follow the goals of purely losing weight are not only short-term, but they can also cause you to become seriously ill and do severe damage to internal organs. Some of the diets above have even been known to cause death from poisoning, malnutrition, or adverse reactions to the methods themselves.
Healthier Option: It’s best to avoid making resolutions with a certain weight loss goal and focus more on healthier exercise and balanced diets. If you are set on losing weight, set smaller more attainable weight loss goals over time as opposed to one large number to meet by the end of the year.
Exercising Every Day
Resolutionists looking to start exercising every day are on the right track. However, the most common mistake people make when sticking to this resolution is going too hard, too fast. In an article published by Stack, health experts reveal that working out every day is actually not recommended. Overtraining without giving the body time to rest and recharge can elevate your risk of injuries during a workout before you even have time to see results.
Healthier Option: Choose an exercise program that provides a schedule of workouts and break days. Your workout should fit the level of intensity your body can physically do so don’t pick anything too highly intense if you are just beginning.
Starting a New Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet is very important in establishing a healthy lifestyle. But even diving into an all healthy diet can come with unpleasant consequences. Individuals who alter their diets drastically can experience gastrointestinal discomfort, faintness, lack of nutrients, and more. In addition, just eating a bunch of foods labeled as healthy may not end well for your stomach- not all foods should be paired together.
Healthier Option: WebMD suggests starting off any new healthy diet slow and steady. Adding in a few healthy food options every week and knowing the appropriate portion size for the foods you are eating can help get you off to a great start in your diet.
Ask Your Doctor
Before starting any new health resolutions this year, make sure to visit your doctor for a check-up and a discussion about your new health goals. Your doctor may have concerns depending on pre-existing health conditions and specific recommendations for what exercises and diets would be safe. Creating a health plan together can reduce your risk of injuries and set you off on the right track to a healthier you.
Finding the Right Doctor
Making a health resolution for the new year doesn’t just involve finding the right exercise and diet program. It can also include reevaluating your overall health and the healthcare providers who help maintain it. If you’re having trouble talking to your doctor about your health goals or are not getting the helpful answers you are looking for, it may also be time to find a new doctor for your care.
Everyday Health suggests that if your doctor is displaying any of these red flag behaviors, you might want to start searching for a new one:
- does not listen or take you seriously
- discourages you seeking a second opinion
- focuses on himself/herself
- rushes you through the appointment
- misdiagnoses you
- leaves you confused or misinformed
- makes it hard to get an appointment
- makes you wait too long in the office
- makes it hard for you to be honest
- forgets what they have prescribed in the past
For more information on seeking appropriate care, check out our blog on Finding The Right Doctor.