About now every year at Physio & Therapies we start to see the ‘new year resolution’ injuries. So today I am going to have a little rant about over doing it …… then I will give you some top tips on how to stay safe while you’re 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 you have signed yourself up to a fun run or a marathon for charity!
The next thing you know, you’ve started your plan to get to that goal, whether you have joined a gym or downloaded a couch to 5K app and you set off well enough. But about this time of year 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 or class but they decided to progress. They usually report that they went to the more advanced class or upped the distance they ran. What they all tell me is they upped this exercise by a significant amount. Doing too much too soon.
The worst culprits are those of us who used to go to the gym or who ran regularly 5 or more 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 hasn’t 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 and your body can adapt without injury it will allow you to improve your fitness and improve your health.
Ok, so rant over, 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. These days practice nurses at GP clinics can check you out 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 cardio vascular exercise such as walking, dance, Pilates, cycling, jogging or swimming. A good guild is being able to keep talking while you exercise. Start with 20 mins broken down into 2 mins of activity and 2 mins of rest. Don’t be afraid to stop and take a breather if you need it. If you have joined a gym do 10 mins CV and 10 mins with light weights or resistance. Work with the gym instructors on a programme to help guide you.
Gentle forms of exercise such as Yoga, Pilates, dance, swimming or Tai chi are ideal to start you off. Once you get a basic level of fitness you can always progress to more energetic forms of activities such as running or cycling if you have a more ambitious goal. These are great forms of activities if you don’t like high impact or cannot tolerate going to the gym. Get a friend to go too; this will motivate you to keep attending. After 6 weeks you should be finding things are getting easier if you attend regular sessions twice a week or more.
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 or weights so, 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 or find a running group you can follow if you are wanting to progress.
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 in for Physiotherapy as a small injury is far easier to treat than one that has developed to something big!
If you are thinking about getting started, but are not sure if you’re fit to do so, why not book a customised MOT at Physio & Therapies that will identify any issues you need to address before you start your exercise programme. We can give you a tailored, individualised plan on the right exercise for your body type and advice on how to prevent injuries.
I hope this has been helpful to you today. If so, like and share our post; click the link to our face book page to like the page or share this with someone who you think might be in need of this help information.
I’m Kerensa Mckie at Physio and Therapies Ltd, find my page here: http://www.physiotherapies.co.uk/team/kerensa-mckie/
And to book in with me please contact the office on 01706 819464 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org