The start of a new year means, among other things, New Year’s Resolutions. One of the most common resolutions people make is to get in better physical condition in the year ahead.

It’s a great goal, but unfortunately, the burst of enthusiasm can often lead to injury. The most common types of injuries are those born of repetitive use or strain and it’s not uncommon for doctor’s offices and chiropractors to see a sudden influx of patients suffering from bursitis, shin splints, stress fractures and the like. Here are some quick tips to help you minimize your risk of injury as you begin your journey toward better health:

Technique Matters

Sometimes, people get so caught up in the excitement of getting fit that they don’t pay sufficient attention to technique. Proper technique is essential, and can go a long way toward minimizing pain and injury when exercising.

Be mindful of your posture. If you’re using some type of equipment during your exercise routine, be sure you’re using it correctly!

Don’t Overdo It

If you’re new to exercising, then your strength, endurance, and flexibility aren’t what they could be.  It’s important to be mindful of your limitations as you start to exercise, so you don’t overexert yourself. Over-exertion can lead to pulled or strained muscles, or painful sprains.

Also in this category, it’s important that when you expand or increase your workout from one week to the next, you don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Don’t increase your exercise by more than 10% (distance, weight, or time) from one week to the next.

Warm Up and Cool Down

This is something that a lot of people overlook, but both are important!  Before you begin exercising in earnest, be sure to perform a short stretching routine to limber your body up for the exercises ahead.

In a similar vein, once you’ve completed your exercise routine for the day, another short round of stretches before you stop will help minimize your post exercise discomfort.

While following this simple advice won’t allow you to magically avoid exercise-related injuries, it will greatly reduce your risks. In turn, you will increase the chances that you’ll stick with your New Year’s Resolution and start seeing a healthier you!