How to Meet Your New Year’s Resolutions (And Help Your Feet)
Now that we are full stream ahead in 2019, we’d like to thank every single one of our patients for helping make this past year an amazing one for our practice. In all seriousness, we’re so honored that you trust us with your health and we thought we’d take the time to thank you. You all rock.
If you’re like any one of the millions of Americans making resolutions at this time of year, you’re probably focusing on health. The three most common resolutions for 2018 were to eat healthier, hit the gym more frequently, and put more money in savings. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise; most of us could eat a little bit healthier, be more active, and make better financial decisions.
While these resolutions are a good place to start, we’ve thought about some great foot-centered resolutions to add on. It’s wonderful that you’re considering your goals for 2019; we just have a few pieces of podiatric advice for you to consider!
New Year, New Workout Plan
Have you ever tried to go to a gym in the second or third week of January? It’s usually as crowded as a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. It’s estimated that about 12% of memberships are purchased in January. That might not sound like much, but an average month in a year typically sees about 8% of memberships. Clearly, a lot of us are hitting the gym in January.
However, most of us aren’t sticking with it. Most of those January membership buyers have thrown in the towel by June.
We have a few quick tips to help you stick with your resolutions:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Say you’ve never ran more than 2 miles in your life and you decide to run a marathon. This is an extremely admirable goal, but it may be a bit too ambitious. By setting the bar so high, you might actually be increasing the chance of failing. The logic goes that you might become discouraged by your short runs and this might start a chain reaction in your mind. How am I going to run a marathon? I can’t do this. Instead, set manageable goals over the course of the first few weeks. If you’re aiming to run a half-marathon in November, try to run 3 miles by the end of January. Meeting this modest goal will keep you determined and give you a sense of accomplishment that will help get you through the ups and downs of training.
Focus on one key resolution. If you’re like many Americans, you have a few resolutions for 2019. Travel more. Save more money. Lose X number of pounds. While it’s great to be ambitious, you might be focusing on too many goals. There’s only so much mental energy you can give.
So, what does this look like?
Let’s say you want to lose weight, exercise more frequently, and eat healthier. Instead of juggling the three resolutions, focus on the one goal that will have the biggest impact in your life. Take the gym resolution, for instance. Resolve to go to the gym at least three times a week to start off.
Ideally, putting all of your effort into this one resolution will impact other areas of your life. You’ll lose weight, for one. You’ll also probably eat a bit healthier after the gym, as people tend to make better choices in other areas of their life if they’re healthy in one area. It’s hard to crave salt and sugar when your body wants water and protein. See, you never actually had to split your focus into three different goals. Aiming at one key resolution was all you needed.
Write it down. Journal as you embark on your resolutions. Being able to see your progression over time will help keep you motivated through February and March, when most resolutions fail.
We hope these tips help you keep your resolutions through the start of 2019. The good news is that it only takes a few weeks for something to become a habit! After that, it’s smooth sailing.
Now that we’ve given you some pointers for hitting your goals, let’s discuss how your foot health factors into this.
Foot Issues and the Newly Active
Diving into a new exercise plan is laudable, but it usually comes with some risk factors. Jogging is a great exercise for the new gym-goer. Anyone can do it, you can vary the intensity and distance, and you don’t need any specialized equipment. Because of this, we bet that most of you will be opting to get on a treadmill or track.
However, jogging does have some risks. Chief among these is plantar fasciitis, which is the quintessential runner’s injury. The plantar fascia is the thick band on the bottom of your feet, which helps cushion your feet when you take a step. However, there’s only so much good this band can do. If you go from the couch to running multiple miles a day, you’re putting a lot of strain on your heels. If you experience a sharp, stabbing pain in the soles of your feet immediately after standing up after a period of inactivity, you probably have plantar fasciitis.
Here are a few tips to reduce your risk of developing planar fasciitis:
- Pace yourself when you begin a new resolution. Try gradually increasing your mileage by 10% or so every week you run. Going from being completely inactive to running 7 or 8 miles at a time is a recipe for an overuse injury.
- Cross train. If your heels are starting to bother you, consider taking some time to rest. Swimming and biking are great options for cardiovascular training that won’t tax the plantar fascia.
- Invest in a good pair of running shoes. Worn sneakers can’t cushion your heels as well as a well-made running shoe. If you’re going to be running some serious mileage, it’s worth getting a shoe that will accurately fit and protect your foot. Yes, you’ll pay a bit more now, but it’ll help you prevent future foot issues.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the more common issues we see in New Year gym-goers, but it’s not the only one by any stretch of the means. Here are some other resolutions for your workout plan in 2019.
- Adequately warm up. Your risk of sports injuries, such as an ankle sprain or a torn tendon, increases if you don’t make sure you’re limber and warmed up before activity. You don’t need to warm up as if you’re about to compete in the Olympics; a light jog and a few dynamic, moving stretches will help.
- Pay attention to your feet as you exercise. If you’re a patient with diabetes, continue your daily foot check. While exercising will help you manage your diabetes, you’re also increasing your risk of the cuts and scrapes that could evolve into a diabetic wound. If you don’t have diabetes, it’s still prudent to keep an eye out for foot issues. After all, you might pick up toenail fungus in a gym locker room. We recommend a simple look-over after every workout.
- Watch the sugar. If you’re more active, you’ll probably consider adding protein bars and sports drinks to your pantry for your recovery day. While these can be useful, pay attention to the added sugar in these items. There’s nothing wrong with a protein bar after a lift; just realize that this bar could come with an extra 12 grams of added sugar.
With any workout plan, there will be hiccups. You could do everything right and you still might see a sprained ankle, sore heels, a sports injury, or a cut. Our office is standing by to help resolve these issues and get you back in the gym and moving towards your resolutions!
Call us today at (309) 661-9975 if you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment with our Bloomington, IL office.