Stick to your New Years fitness resolutions
With a new year, many of us have set resolutions around increasing our exercise. Research suggests that approximately half of our resolutions involve exercise closely followed by financial resolutions. To keep your exercise resolutions on track and avoid unnecessary physio bills, follow our top tips in our blog by physiotherapist Jason Lee.
It is this time of the year when we commonly see an influx of injuries related to New Year’s resolutions. This includes back strains and tendon injuries such as achilles, plantar fasciitis or shoulder pain. Inconsistent loading increases the likelihood of injury on soft tissue such as muscles and tendons. These symptoms are likely to start to occur between a month to two months following any change in load. A lot of these injuries occur from a sharp increase in intensity or volume of exercise. Many of these injuries can actually be prevented by following our top tips and appropriate planning and structuring an exercise regime.
Build load gradually
Exercise places our body under stress and strain with changes occurring as our body positively adapts. Drastic changes in load are one of the most common causes of injury. This includes overloading and under-loading. Research shows that when weekly load is increased by 15% or 10% less on the previous week, the injury risk on soft tissue increases between 20 – 50%.
Build up your exercise program gradually. Depending on the frequency of training, it is importantly to repeat a session before increasing the intensity or resistance. Build up in a step like fashion rather than constantly increasing. If you are training several times a week, this may include a change each week. However, if you’re only training 1 x weekly, you’ll only be increasing intensity every 2 – 3 weeks.
Do strength training
Strength training has been shown to be far superior than stretching in reducing overuse injuries. The stronger we are, our soft tissue becomes more resilient reducing the likelihood of injury. In fact, strength training has been shown to reduce the risk of acute injuries by 30% and in some injuries such as tennis elbow by 50%.
Strength training does not necessarily have to involve equipment. It can be as simple as using body weight with exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups and planks.
Sleep and rest
In order to get the benefits of exercise, recovery is equally if not more important than the exercise. Sleep and rest allow our body to recover and positively adapt from the stress and strain. It is recommended to sleep at least 7 – 9 hours per night. Recent studies have shown that those who sleep less than 8 hours are almost two times more likely to injure themselves compared to those who get 8 or more hours.
Similarly, it is recommended to have at least 2 rest days per week. For those who are very active, this does not have to mean doing nothing. A rest day can include gentle exercise such as a walk or yoga. Scheduling at least 2 days rest a week has been shown to reduce the likelihood of injury by 5 times.
Most importantly, start slowly and ease into your exercise regime. Everyone know the story of the tortoise and the hare. While enthusiasm to exercise is great, diving straight into exercise is a recipe for injury. If your body is used to moderate exercise, jumping straight into high intensity exercise can dramatically increase the likelihood of injury.
Whilst the new year can be a great reminder for us to exercise, be sure to structure your exercise and be smart. Injuries can not only be frustrating, but also impact our ability to exercise consistently.
Our team at Malvern East Physiotherapy are experts at guiding and assisting you to exercise safely. If you have any queries about starting an exercise program or any niggles you’d like to get seen before starting, call our team or book online today.