Photo by Brian Canniff – Ultiphotos.comHappy 2016!Did you know that while January has the highest percentage of new gym members, February has the highest percentage of people leaving the gym?An astounding 80 percent of new gym members give up on their goal of living a healthier lifestyle during the second month of the year. Over-crowded facilities, a lack of knowledge and fear of injuries are just a few of the reasons people call it quits. Clayton Cartwright, DPT, ATC, from NovaCare’s Lansdale, PA center has a few tips to not only keep you safe and informed, but also motivated for achieving your fitness goals in 2015.– The warm-up/cool down period can be one of the most important aspects of an exercise program in helping to reduce the risk of injury. Your warm-up should incorporate full body movements and can be as easy as spending 10 minutes on a rowing machine or treadmill. A cool-down should consist of stationary stretches (hamstring stretching, pigeon stretching, upward/downward dog) to help increase tissue flexibility.– Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. If an exercise is painful, it should be avoided until adequate mobility and strength are achieved to perform the movement pain-free. Pain is different than Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS typically occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise and is part of starting any exercise program. It will become less noticeable as your become more consistent in the gym.– Body-weight exercises are a great way to start a strength training program. Utilize push-ups, assisted pull-ups and air squats early on to get used to the way your body moves. Not only do these exercises help increase strength, but they’re also functional movement patterns that we use in our daily lives.‪#‎ThePowerofPT.An active lifestyle is critical for a healthy year, and the best way to ensure a safe and successful start to 2016 is to establish a realistic and cautious training schedule.  Be safe, be healthy and Happy New Year!