It is such a positive step to begin an exercise program and when you start out it’s tempting to throw yourself in whole-heartedly.
We know well that exercise reduces our risk of developing several chronic conditions. Plus, it just makes us feel pretty great- it has immediate benefits for our mental health and sleep.
However motivated you feel to start with, it is worth a word of caution- moving too quickly into exercise, particularly when starting from scratch or after a long period of inactivity. This can pose a few hazards.
Some of the injuries that we commonly see in our clinic, especially in people hitting the gym for the first time or after some time away, are back pain, muscle strains and tendinopathies (like Achilles and tennis elbow). Most of these are due to increasing intensity and load a little too quickly.
But don’t lose motivation- here are a few tips to help you to maintain it while avoiding injury along the way to your goal.
1. Do something that you enjoy and can manage
Simple! If you don’t enjoy it, you will not stick with it. Exercise can be fun and make you feel amazing. You just need to what what style is most enjoyable for you.
2. Warm up well
This is a super important part of your workout- it helps to prevent injury. Keep it specific and do a warm up that includes some similar movements to what will be in your work out. Spend 5-10 minutes getting warm and a little ‘puffy’.
3. Mix it up
Do different types of exercise. Take a day off between similar types of exercise or do some extra stretching. Doing the same thing every day can lead to your fitness level plateauing and may expose you to greater injury risks.
4. Get some support
Your physiotherapist can help with progressing your exercise program or adapting it if you begin to get sore. We won’t tell you to stop!
5. Listen to your body
If you feel an injury or niggle, see one of our physiotherapists and let us help you continue on your way to achieving your goals!