Done with Christmas binging? Get into shape safely for the new year

Fun workoutsMost of you will be desperate to get rid of the holiday weight you gained over Christmas, and to welcome new year in a fit body, but experts have warned that not knowing the correct way to work out might hurt you more than help you. Nearly 500,000 workout-related injuries occur each year. One reason is people want to do too much too fast and overuse their muscles. These injuries occur gradually and are often hard to diagnose in the bones, tendons and joints. Another reason is poor technique during weight and other training.

Dr. Joshua Harris, an orthopedic surgeon with Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, said that it's important to know and respect your body's limits, and start with an exercise program that will slowly build your strength and endurance. Start a light to moderate intensity workout three times per week, with the focus on high repetition, low weight sets that emphasize larger muscle groups, including the shoulder, hip, pelvis, and core, Harris said. When lifting weights, he added, it is extremely important to use good form. Dr. Shari Liberman, a hand and upper extremity specialist, sees an increase in patients with wrist sprains and other hand injuries caused by improper weight lifting in January.

Liberman advises to keep your wrist straight when lifting weights, but many people tend to bend the wrist in or let it fall back which can increase their risk of a sprain or other injury. Liberman suggests working with a personal trainer for a few weight lifting sessions to help develop good form for your wrists and back. She also recommends alternating between different workout routines. Rotating routines helps prevent overuse injuries and increases overall fitness because of the use of many different muscles, Liberman said. Harris said that overuse injuries can also be prevented by increasing your flexibility and recommends stretching after every workout. Harris added that it might take a little longer to get results, but in the end it will prevent injuries.

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Here are 9 fitness tips to get you started

Sweat a bucket: Walk, swim, hit the gym or pretend to train for the marathon even if you never intend on competing in the big race, it can give you a great calorie burn.

Step it up: Every step taken will help you keep in shape. So push yourself more and make the effort to take the stairs instead of the lift. Walk the dog yourself a few times a week instead of getting your staff to do it. Walk to the car instead of having the driver bring the car to you. It doesn't matter where you are but the more you're mobile the better for your health and figure.

Candy Crushed: Along with fun and merriment the festive season brings a whole load of temptation. Post Diwali and pre-Christmas is a tricky time with so many parties and weddings and desserts and cocktails to indulge in. Curb those candy cravings and instead chew on some gum or aniseed.

Water Baby: Water is great for overall health and fitness but the trick is to drink it voluntarily and not just when you're thirsty. When hunger pangs creep up a handy solution is to drink a glass of water instead and help curb it. A splash of lime will give you the extra Vitamin C and a bit of zing.

Vital vitamins: Fruit and vegetables can give you a great glow, when used inside and out. Your skin needs to be nourished from inside to look radiant from outside. So help yourself to an extra serving of citrus fruit, vegetable juices and salads. And of course, try some home spa remedies like a mixture of mashed banana, apples and orange zest or a sugar-lime exfoliation (don't eat, just apply!). You'll be surprised how it will give you a smooth fresh look.

Alcohol alert: Watch your alcohol intake for the next few weeks, so you can enjoy the main event looking the best you can.

Home-cooked goodness: Home-cooked food always works. Fresh ingredients, no chemicals, controlled oil equal fewer pointless calories and is the best way to manage your diet and help get you into shape. Eat dinner at home at a reasonable time before you go to that wedding reception with an unhealthy mass-catered buffet dinner served at 11 pm.

Partner up: You will be more successful in your efforts if you have a partner to work with. Work out with your partner and also keep tabs on each other. Just knowing that you need to answer to someone else (and the chance to do better than another person) is often enough to keep you motivated.

Visual Aids: Why restrict yourself to a real, live partner? An inanimate object can be a great help too. So if there's a particular dress that you want to fit into for the bash, keep it hanging out so that you see it 10 times a day. You will be surprised how much of a motivation that is.

It's going to be party time before you know it. With some thought and planning into getting fitter, you will be prepared to look your absolute best so that you can enjoy the night to its fullest. After all the hard work, you will enjoy it even more! (Read: 10 ways to look beautiful naturally this festive season)

With inputs from ANI

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