By now, we’re made our 2022 New Year’s Resolutions and there’s a pretty good chance improving fitness or losing weight is on that list. According to a YouGov poll, 98% of people made improving fitness or losing weight a resolution heading into 2021.
But those resolutions don’t always stick throughout the year. Gifford Physical Therapist, Troy Stratton says there’s a couple of reasons that come into play when talking about the longevity of resolutions:
1. People try to do too much or make their goals too ambitious.
2. They try to reach their fitness goals alone.
“You have to be realistic,” Stratton says. “Take baby steps. Sometimes fitness is a really cyclical thing where people start and stop.”
Stratton suggests taking a look at past successes and see what works best. Also, get a friend, co-worker, or family member involved, so you have accountability.
A UVM Graduate, Stratton joined Gifford in 2007 and is currently the Rehabilitation Services Manager. For his high school Senior project, Stratton shadowed physical therapists at Gifford. He still works with clients at Gifford’s Kingwood Health Center in Randolph and the Sharon Health Center, because he enjoys making that community connection.
“Gifford is a special place and I’ve been fortunate to be here this long,” Stratton said. “You meet great colleagues and professionals. There’s never a dull day and that’s what you want out of a career.”
From falls and trips to crush injuries, Stratton and his team see it all. Vermont doesn’t have a high percentage of high-end athletes, so many of the injuries they see are work-related.
“We have roofers, loggers, and mechanics,” Stratton said. “People who just want to stay active and do their career or profession at the highest quality. The main goal is to get them back to a good livelihood for themselves and their families.“
Almost everyone who joins the Gifford team starts their journey with Troy and his staff. New employees are required to take a company pre-employment screen.
“We get to chit-chat and go through a simple physical assessment to make sure they’re safe and knowledgeable about the physical requirement they need to do for their job,” Stratton said. “It’s nice to make that early connection.”
With some jobs, it may be necessary to carry heavy objects, while other jobs aren’t as physical and may just require a person to stare into a computer all day. Stratton says each job has its physical challenges.
“Our bodies love to move. The more motion we can have throughout the day, the better. We have to be careful with the extent of the extreme lifts or transfers, but there are also people just sitting at their desks. We want them up and about and to know the difference between active and sedentary lifestyles.”
If you are stuck at a desk all day, Stratton suggests setting a timer on a computer or phone every 20-30 minutes, so you know when to stand up and stretch out. Keeping your body mobile from head and neck to foot and ankle is important not just for your circulatory system (getting the blood flowing), but also for joint health. Walking to another office or standing up while talking on the phone are also other suggestions as ways to keep moving throughout the day.
“If you’re not moving, you’re not getting that circulation,” Stratton said. “Just to get out of your chair and stretch is a good exercise to do.”
Circling back to those New Year’s Resolutions, Stratton suggests writing down your goals so you know what you’re getting into. You may see great progress in the first 6 to 8 weeks, but the hard part is maintaining those results after that period.
“Bodies have adapted so that’s when you have to push yourself and challenge yourself. Those 6 to 8 weeks prepare your body for that next level. We don’t recover as quickly, especially as we age. Stay patient, that’s where the friend, colleague, or co-worker comes in. Accountability for what you’re trying to accomplish is worth its weight in gold.”
The common thread to any workout is stretching. Over the last few years, Stratton has put a focus on Dynamic Stretching.
“Dynamic stretching is primarily moving through different motions of your hips, knees, ankles, and upper torso.”
Stratton suggests saving the traditional “static stretching” until after your workout for a better recovery.
There’s also no right or wrong time during the day for a workout.
“If you’re a morning person and you’re going to roll out of bed to do exercises, just warm up first. We want them to be successful at whatever time of day. Forcing it isn’t going to have longevity and true benefit.”
If you are joining a gym or starting a new workout program like running, don’t be afraid to do a little research. Find out what your gym offers in terms of hours and equipment. Find out what you can do on a treadmill, and if running outdoors is your thing, look up what you need to know about off-trail running.
Regardless of where or when you work out:
1. Don’t do too much too soon or you will have soreness and strains that will make you stop or slow down.
2. Have a small meal or snack before and after you work out as your body uses food as fuel.
3. Drink plenty of water. When we hydrate, it keeps our tissues healthy.
“Drinking water also makes us go to the bathroom, another perfect reason to leave your desk and walk around if you’re stuck in the office during the day,” Stratton said.
Following these tips at home, at the office, at the gym or outside, will hopefully help you reach your fitness goals for the new year.