It’s that time of year again folks, New Year’s resolution time – with one of the most common being to drop some weight and get in shape.
Good diet and a Dry January will help, but lots of you will also be thinking about starting (or getting back to) some physical exercise.
It’s all good! And I can’t recommend getting active and physically fit highly enough.
As a physiotherapist I see all sorts of injuries at this time of year, through people either starting exercising again after a short break, starting for the first time after a long break or simply just starting exercise for the first time.
My advice for trying to reduce the risk of injury when starting a new exercise regime is to first start slow and easy.
Don’t throw yourself into it and go at it like a ‘bat out of hell’! Your body will need time to adjust to your new routine. Your soft tissues will need to adapt and have time to recover.
Having not exercised for some time your muscles, ligaments and tendons are highly likely to tighten in the early weeks post-exercise. This can leave you very vulnerable to a pulled muscle or strain and even the odd tear.
Top tips to try and prevent this would be:
- Start things gently and follow a nice steady programme.
- Remember to warm up and save your static stretches for post-exercise. Build in 5-10 minutes at the end of your exercise session to concentrate on stretching. Hold your stretches for at least 20 seconds, but longer if you can, and feel what your trying to stretch.
- Give yourself rest days so your body has time to recover.
- Build up activity gradually.
If you get any twinges, just back off a little and try some hot or cold therapy as a bit of self-management to calm things down – and maybe reduce the session and rebuild so as not to aggravate things.
The phrase ‘No Pain No Gain’, fits your muscles working during and after exercise and the delayed onset of muscle soreness ‘DOMS’, but the phrase doesn’t fit those twinges, aches and pains that are telling you something isn’t quite right.
Also, consider a Sports Massage to keep yourself loose and aid injury prevention.
Any aches and pains you do develop and can’t shake off, which can be very frustrating, are worth getting seen by your Doctor and/or a qualified Chartered Physiotherapist to get a diagnosis, advice and possible treatment if required.
Diagnosis and being told what to do is sometimes all that is required.
I wish you all a successful and injury free ‘GET FIT’ resolution!
Blog compiled by Kevin Huffington, Clinical Director and Lead Physiotherapist at Central Health