It’s a comment that we hear all the time in clinic and one that I’ve even muttered myself, “I’m going to get fit this year, it’s a new start for me.”
After the joys of the festive period there is often a renewed enthusiasm that the new year will bring opportunity for change and a new lease of life.
The new year eagerness to get fit can lead to starting a new 30-day challenge; or to run around the park everyday; or build up fitness to compete in a marathon, or even the Tough Mudder 2018! All are excellent ideas and a great way to motivate yourself for the month of January, however more often than not you fail to complete your challenge to the end of the month and frequently that can be due to INJURY!
We are guilty of throwing ourselves in at the deep end and not approaching our new training program in a sensible manner, especially if the activity is new to you.
Here are a few tips to avoid injury this coming year, and set you on the way to achieving your goals:
- Find a good park that is suitable for walking or running. It is more stimulating to run in a park than on the streets, and the ground can be softer and more forgiving on the joints.
- Exercise in the appropriate shoes, sports trainers that are light will help keep your feet comfortable and encourage you to exercise more.
- Begin with gentle interval training for the first few sessions. This may be cycling 3km and resting for 500m, or running 1km and walking 500 m, then repeating as able. Know your limits and build up slowly.
- Give yourself a few recovery days between sessions to help deal with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), this can sometimes provide people with an excuse as they are “too sore or too tight”. However, DOMS is best overcome by light walking and general movement.
- Set a goal and have an overall plan, as this will help motivate you on those wet mornings when you can’t get out of bed early to exercise, or those dark nights when you want to skip the gym.
- Don’t exercise every day, training daily will cause an excessive build up of lactate acid, fatigue, and wear and tear if you are not conditioned to it. Having every second day as a rest-day will reduce your risk of an injury.
- Don’t run more than 5km or start with high intensity exercise on your first session. Trying to work through tightness or pain is more likely to cause injury
- Don’t set unrealistic goals as you will inevitably pick up an injury when trying to achieve something that was beyond your level of fitness.
- Don’t ignore warning signs: if you are starting to feel pain or an ache then it’s probably best to ease up with the training and avoid being afraid to miss a session. Missing one session could make a big difference and possibly prevent you form missing more in the future if you choose to ignore it.
The most important piece of advice I can give is to be sensible and patient with your training. If you’re new to exercise and expect to run daily for 30 days or to do 50 press-ups for 30 days, you should be more reasonable in your expectations. It is unrealistic for the novice trainer to accomplish and more for someone better conditioned to regular daily training.
Secondly, you have to enjoy your exercise otherwise you will never stick at it long-term and your New Year’s resolution will be binned by February. Maintaining a long-term exercise program is correlated with enjoying the program. Remember exercise can range from walking, cycling, running, weightlifting, dancing, golf, tennis, aerobic classes and much more. Try them all until you find something that work for you.
If you want some helpful advice or treatment for any persistent injury then come and see one of our experienced members of staff at JMC Physiocures, 01236 425 661 or 07808 552 520.