New Year's Resolution: A Trip to the ER?

No 3-Minute-Milers

One roadblock can derail further plans for a healthier lifestyle for some. About one-third of the people who make these resolutions will not keep them through January, and more than half will break them within three months, according to the Franklin Covey survey.

Even if people do continue with their strenuous fitness regimens without having to go to the emergency room, damage can accrue over time. Goldberg said he does see exercise-related injuries heavily weighted at the beginning of the year.

Nearly 2 million Americans went to emergency rooms in 2006 due to "overexertion and strenuous movements," according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and winter is the busiest time for emergency departments in general.

Part of the problem with New Year's resolutions to get in better shape may be cultural.

"America wants the quick fix -- with their body, with their mind with everything," Slovis said. "If people have taken off 10 years, they need to think in months rather than hours and days."

Slovis said people with exercise or diet-related injuries come to him apologetic, sheepish and disgusted with themselves.

To combat a bad exercise trip and prevent starting the new year in the emergency room, experts recommend that exercise regimens start slowly, carefully and with guidance, noting that good fitness in one area may not translate to equal fitness in another. For example, just because someone can run for a full hour does not mean the person is in any shape to lift heavy weights for an hour.

"People should begin new programs with the idea that it's a lifelong or more permanent change rather than a quick fix," Slovis said. "Start slower, do it longer."

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