About this time in January of each year, Physiotherapists start to see the ‘new year resolution’ injuries. So, today I am going to have a little rant about over doing it and I will give you some top tips on how to stay safe while you are getting fitter.
So what is a New Year resolution injury? Well you know how it is, after the excesses of Christmas you decide to do something about your fitness, your weight, your waistline and then, after one too many drinks, you find yourself participating in a Joe Wicks exercise session with the children! The next thing you know, you have set yourself a goal, downloaded an exercise app or decided to get fit during yet another lockdown.
At this time of year, usually our clients start coming in with pulled tendons or muscles, knee pain or back pain to name a few common injuries. One of the main things these client’s report is that they started off doing a gentle run but as they progress, they did too much too soon. The worst culprits are those of us who used to go to the gym or who regularly ran years ago. Our brain still remembers that our old ‘usual’ run was an hour or 10 km and we think we still can. However, when your body has not done much of anything for years it needs time to adapt to exercise again. If you overload your body too fast and by too much it will start to breakdown. However, if you gradually increase exercise over a period of time your body can adapt without injury and it will allow you to improve your fitness and improve your health. So, what can you do to maximise improvement and minimise risk?
Tip 1) Firstly, if you have any worries or medical conditions get the OK from your doctor to start an exercise plan if you can. Given the current issues with getting GP advice this may not be possible however, Practice nurses at GP clinics can check you out over the phone if you have any worries especially if you are obese or have any medical issues. Exercise can help with all health problems so the medical professionals will be glad to see you working on your health. Don’t be shy in asking.
Tip 2) Start easily. A good guide is over at least a 6 week period do gentle cardiovascular exercise – it doesn’t matter what as long as you enjoy it, so try walking, dance, Pilates, cycling or jogging. You know you’re not pushing it if you are able to keep talking while you exercise. Start with 20 mins broken down into 2 mins of activity and 2 mins of rest. Do not be afraid to stop and take a breather if you need it. Gentle forms of exercise such as virtual Pilates, (available at Physio & Therapies) yoga or stretching exercises are an ideal way to start you off combined with walking or cycling. These are great forms of activities, especially in lockdown. After 6 weeks you should be finding things getting easier. Keep a record of what you managed to do each day so you can see the improvement you make.
Tip 3) How much to progress? A good guide is to add 5%. When you feel ready to increase your exercise or extend running distance or time, do it by only 5% of your total time for example, if you run 2 km now next time try to 2.1km. Do this for a couple of sessions per week then increase by 5% again. Once you can comfortably do a 5km run look up a training plan online.
Tip 4) Lastly, if you find you are having any problems with aches or pains as you start training don’t leave it and struggle through, book yourself a phone or Zoom Physiotherapy consultation as a small injury is far easier to treat than one that has developed to something big! Remember that Physiotherapy is a medical intervention and after an initial telephone assessment we can offer face to face appointments throughout this lockdown if appropriate, following COVID-19 safe procedures.
I’m Kerensa Mckie at Physio and Therapies: read more about me here https://www.physiotherapies.co.uk/team/kerensa-mckie/ To book an appointment with me please contact the office on 01706 819 464 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org