This month for our PT Talk conversation, we asked Alpine’s physical therapists the question: “Looking into the looming 2022 and your resolution resets, what are your words of advice on kicking off the New Year with a strong start?”
There were several common threads in the many responses, including being realistic, starting small and being consistent. Many of our PT’s shared their go-to apps and there are some fun ideas in here too like taking up a new sport, using colored pens and not comparing yourself to “The Rock”! If you are feeling inspired to really try something new, sometimes professional help is a good idea. If you are new to exercise, consulting with a Physical Therapist or a Personal Trainer can certainly make your efforts more effective and safe. If weight loss is truly on the list, guidance from a nutritionist or your doctor is also warranted.
Here is some of the advice from our Alpine family to yours...
Leah Vertsteegen said: “I am not great at resolutions but can get on board if I set a goal or two, probably the only difference between the two is in my own interpretation. My advice - keep it simple so that you can be successful, but make it enough of a challenge that it pushes your comfort levels. For example, I am terrible at regular stretching or mobility work, so last year my goal was to add yoga to my weekly routine. I chose a simple and doable format - online and all classes are under 30 minutes. I really love the instruction and format of the 30 Day Yoga Challenge hosted by 'Yoga with Adrienne'. I chose one 30 day challenge that I tried to complete in 3 months rather than 30 days, that way I never had to sit there and choose what to do next, it was already curated and queued up! It's always fun to get a friend or family member involved so that you can hold each other accountable, or you can just quietly do it on your own and enjoy the personal challenge.”
Colter Brown’s input was: "If you really want to make a commitment toward change or accomplishing something, you have to do it. No one else can do it for you. Start now, make a plan, prioritize the next most important step, and execute. This might involve utilizing helpful resources such as a physical therapist or personal trainer. You do not have to do this alone, but you do have to initiate and stick to your plan for it to work."
Jess Kehoe thinks: “two very worthwhile resolutions for me or anyone looking to be healthier into 2022 would be the addition of regular mindfulness and/or addition of regular exercise. My best suggestion is to add or change a habit by planning to do the new activity at the same time every day. If you want to try mindfulness there is a great free app, Insight Timer, there are thousands of options for guided meditations. I have had success as a working mom with two young girls meditating first thing in the morning. I often stay in bed, which really works for a consistent 5 minutes of practicing mindfulness and it has been a great way to start off my day. As for exercise, another great app I've used is called The 7-Minute Workout. It's free, easy to use, no equipment necessary, and only 7 minutes. My kids even like to join me.”
JD Large contributed these thoughts: “The New Year can be a great time to reflect and reset with regards to health goals and overall wellness. However, we all know the phenomenon that happens after January 1st - people get really pumped up about getting in shape, then when they don’t achieve their 20 pound weight loss goal in 2 weeks, and throw in the towel. Some useful strategies to avoid this common pitfall are journaling to track progress with exercise and to hold yourself accountable with dietary choices. Additionally, if you aren't familiar with exercise programming or you don't have a background in the gym, consider consulting with a professional (personal trainer/PT/nutritionist) to come up with a good game plan based on your goals. If you have a lingering injury that has been preventing you from getting into the gym or a running program, consider checking in with a PT so that your lingering issue doesn't hinder you from participating in your New Year fitness goals.
Another big driver of success is getting into a consistent routine. Try to schedule times that work for you to perform your regimen each week. Explore your options around a gym membership versus investing in a home gym. Are you a morning person or would you prefer to get your workout in after the daily grind? I have found that folks have the best success when they knock out their workout routine before work, as life often throws you daily curveballs that make for convenient excuses to skip it.
Another helpful piece of advice would be to set realistic goals and to stick to them. It sounds cliché, but I’ve found personally and with my patients, this has been a very effective strategy. Make your long-term goals reasonable. For example, if you want to lose 20 lbs, realize that generally the most weight that you can lose in a healthy fashion is 1-2 lbs per week. If your body is in a caloric deficit, you will burn more calories than you bring in and can slowly lose excess weight. A realistic weight loss goal thus would be to lose 20 lbs in 15-20 weeks.
The last piece of advice I often recommend is to be patient with yourself, but also be accountable to yourself. Realize that celebrities and athletes with bullet-proof physiques have personal trainers, personal chefs and sometimes even "enhance" with surgeries and medications. It’s helpful not to read the latest work-out routine from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and expect that you can follow his routine and get his miraculous results.”
Gary Gales suggests: “Pick one to two habits that you want to change for the rest of your life. Start small and build on these habits throughout the year with the focus on getting there with smaller goals over time. Keep at it, be forgiving if you slip from your routine and keep heading in the right direction.”
Angela Listug-Vap’s pro tips were: “I love goal setting, but I have more fun with it when I add some whimsey. Looking at my goals, you'll find things like "finish your will" next to "wear more animal print". I also decided that after the darkness of the year 2020, 2021 needed more brightening. I deemed 2021 to be "The Year of the Rhinestone" and every month I sent something with a rhinestone on it to my mom and sister. It was a fun goal to meet. Goals don't have to be miserable things.
Assign your goals to each particular month. I tend to have very high expectations of what I can actually accomplish, so I like to write out my yearly goals and match them to a month; it keeps me much more reasonable. For example - I want to increase my consistency with flossing, so I assigned it to a month - when March hits I'll make myself floss every day that month and by the end of the month it'll be a new habit. You can't start everything in January - that's failure waiting to happen.
Write your resolutions down. I've had fun the last two years using colored pens and writing out 20 goals for 2020 (many didn't happen, as 'isolate yourself' wasn't on the list) and 21 goals for 2021. I'm definitely starting to think about my 22 goals in 2022. A 22 minute walk every day and sending 22 handwritten cards are at the top of my list.“
Maddie Small’s succinct thoughts were: “Focus on your health and wellness, practice more patience, increase kindness toward others, and look out for the positives in each situation.”
Antara Quinones said: “I try to keep it fun with breakdowns of how to achieve an overarching goal. The typical weight loss goals, or "exercise more", or "eat better" usually start with good intentions, turn to a big struggle, then make you feel worse about yourself, and inevitably you bag it for another year. Instead, think about learning a new physical skill. As adults we often forget to play with movement. It's hard to skip, jump rope, or do a cartwheel without smiling. When's the last time you played tag?
Try creating a new habit of adding daily movement, make it an enjoyable task, and things will start to fall into place. Nutritionally, start thinking about changing 1 thing in your diet. Maybe you give up cereal and replace it with something more nutritionally dense with less sugar. Maybe you add another glass of water to your daily hydration routine.”
So here’s to the New Year! Our Alpine family hopes you find joy and health this whole year through, whether you set a resolution or not. For more individualized guidance, a consult or to start some physical therapy in the new year, check out our website or call us at (406) 251-2323.