When returning to fitness activities its important you don’t do “too much too soon.”
If you have been resting all winter or have avoided physical activity for the past weeks, months or even years and are keen to get back into a fitness regime, be mindful not to overdo it initially as you can pull up sore. A gradual program is vital to allow the body to adjust and avoid muscle pain or even injury.
Doing too much too soon and not achieving your goals can make you feel mentally and physically overwhelmed, leaving you feeling defeated. Starting with just 10 minutes a day is OK, doing a low intensity workout is a good way to reintroduce the body to exercise.
Don’t forget to take rest days.
Allowing the body to recover is just as important as the exercise. This gives the body a chance to repair and replenish itself. Recovery has many benefits such as improved performance and recuses the risk of injury. Factors that influence recovery may include the following; nutrition, stress levels, sleep and hydration.
A warm up and cool down are also important.
Before any exercise commences a short warm up should be incorporated into your workout routine. Warming up raises your body temperature which increases blood flow to the muscles, this reduces muscle soreness over the following days. Furthermore, cooling down allows your heart rate and blood pressure to gradually resume its normal resting state.
Wearing correct footwear when exercising is key.
Worn or old shoes can result in poor movement and could lead to foot and ankle damage over time. Whether your workout involves walking, running, sport or gym, the correct footwear is a must. Investing in quality footwear can also help make your workout a more enjoyable experience.
So, how can we help?
If you are wanting to return to fitness activities and not sure where to start an Exercise Physiologist (EP) can help you. Your EP will prepare a customised program to get you started. You will be given support and guidance regarding type, load and frequency of exercise to regain mobility, flexibility and strength. An EP can also refer you to other Allied Health Professionals if required to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
Lara Watts – Exercise Physiologist at myPhysioSA Mount Barker