New Year's Resolution, New Injury?!
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
We do hope NOT. But read on to find out why January can be a busy time for Soft Tissue Therapists, Physio and GPs, along with some common sense reminders how you can get fit whilst keeping yourself injury free.
New Year's Resolution, New Injury?
We sincerely hope NOT, but did you know that our bodies are especially susceptible to injuries when we increase our activity, exercise or training levels suddenly (as opposed to gradually)?
Because we are asking our tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments etc.) to work under new loads that they may not yet be in condition - i.e. have the strength, or length - to handle.
This can occur at any time we introduce a new activity, but guess which time of year many people are suddenly doing this?
That's right, you guessed it, at the beginning of a New Year!
As fitness instructors we see a surge of eager 'New Year's Fitness Resolution' participants filling our classes (and we know we're not alone), or maybe this is the time of year you decide to start running, take up a new sport, lose those extra few Christmas pounds or finally build those biceps or that six-pack you've always wanted?
Great! We're all for movement, sports, activities, goal setting and fun. Don't let us stop you...
....but PLEASE take it easy.
Start small, or slow, (or whatever is necessary in your chosen activity) and build up gradually.
Make sure to schedule in (and remember to actually take!) rest or recovery days.
Ensure you warm your body up thoroughly and enjoy a cool down (slower, or lighter, version of the activity you've been enjoying, or perhaps a short relaxing stretch session) or light massage afterwards.
Try joining a club where you can benefit from expert tuition, a class with instructors who are willing to educate you and focus on your particular body's needs, or invest in a few 1-2-1 sessions with a personal trainer or movement therapist so you can get off to a safe start with some individual coaching and take away a progressive training programme to work to.
It's also a good idea to mix and match your activities a bit so your body gets a variety of movements and also different types of movement, for example, think:
Repetitive (e.g. track or road running, cycling), or more unpredictable movements (e.g. football, squash or cross-country running);
Speed (sprinting) versus slower activities (walking, gentle swimming);
Agility and coordination (kung fu), or strength (weight training);
Power work (circuits or kettlebell class) versus flexibility or mobility work (stretch, SlowFlow or some yoga classes).
Consider activities that give you a 'whole-body work-out' experience (climbing, hula-hooping, dancing).
Try to avoid just sticking to one thing all the time to help keep your whole body supple and strong.
Building your movement routine sensibly, gradually and with variety as well as rest are all key factors in increasing the condition of your muscles, tendons and ligaments so they can safely handle the 'load' (amount or intensity of exercise/activity) you want them to handle.
Remember the saying: 'It's better to 'PREHAB' than need to REHAB!'
(Or maybe get it printed on a T-shirt and wear it every time you get ready to go to the gym/out for a run/when you start climbing, etc. .....just as a reminder to yourself?)
We really hope you enjoy your New Year's Fitness Resolutions by keeping safe and injury free so you can keep your good intentions up for longer!
Have fun, keep moving safely and be well!