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Fitness resolutions for the new year? Watch out for injury.

New Year's marked the end of a six-week long holiday season. You ate, you drank and you were merry. Now that you're back to life as usual, you may be realizing that your pants are a little snugger--and you may be feeling extra motivated to hit the gym.

Physical fitness goals are among the most common New Year's resolutions--and they're also the most likely to result in injury. In today's post, we outline a few tips for a safe workout routine:

  • Protect your body. Stretching before and after each workout is an easy way to keep your muscles warm and prevent injury. Less widely known, however, are the benefits of incorporating strength training into your workout routine--which has been proven to prevent acute and over-exertion injuries even better than stretching.
  • Ramp up slowly. If you're not already in the habit of working out regularly, don't jump into a high-intensity boot camp or heavy weight lifting right away. It's important to start with lower-impact cardio and lighter weights, then gradually increase.
  • Keep it varied. A common workout mistake is to over-work one muscle group--leading to over-exertion injuries. Allowing your muscles time to rest between workouts is important--so that they can repair and grow. Therefore, if you're going to the gym every day, vary your workout to target different muscle groups--giving each set of muscles at least one day off.
  • Get a solid night's sleep. You probably know that adequate sleep is important for your overall health and functioning. If you're not getting enough sleep, you're also more likely to get injured while working out. In addition, sleep deprivation can actually make your workout less effective on your body.

Following the above tips can help prevent injuries that are within your control. However, if you slip and fall on a wet locker room floor or injure yourself on workout equipment that wasn't properly secured, your gym may be held liable. In such cases, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.

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