At the first sign of warmer weather, everyone is anxious to get outside to start or reinvigorate their exercise routine. Whether it’s going on a bike ride up Te Mata Peak or enjoying a nice jog through the reserves, it is important to ease into your workout program to prevent injuries.
A major cause of injury is people wanting to do too much too fast, leading them to overuse their muscles. When people begin a new exercise program, they often push their bodies too far and put themselves at risk for injury.
Cold starts, without any warm-up exercises, are a common cause of workout-related injuries. Another common source of injury is starting your workout too quickly at a high-intensity level.
To avoid injury, you should start with an activity level that you can handle. Slow and steady progression is the safest way to increase your activity levels. You should always listen to your body – it will tell you if you’re pushing yourself too much.
A good, spring exercise program looks something like this:
- Start slowly. Remember that moderate physical activity can include walking the dog, working in the garden, playing with the kids or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Warm up properly. Always take time to warm up and stretch before physical activity. Research studies reveal cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warm up with activities like jumping jacks, stationary biking, running or walking in place for three to five minutes. Then slowly and gently stretch, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
- Increase intensity only when ready. Observe the 10 percent rule. When changing your activity level, increase it in increments of no more than 10 percent per week. This applies to both cardiovascular and strength training.
- Develop a balanced fitness program. Your routine should incorporate cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility. In addition to providing a total body workout, a balanced program will keep you from getting bored and lessen your risk of injury.
It’s recommended to exercise regularly throughout the week rather than trying to cram in hours of exercise into one day or a weekend. Without regular, beneficial exercise injuries ranging from muscle strains and ligament injuries to possible cardiac issues can occur.
If you have had a sports injury or chronic condition, contact the team at Evans Osteopaths, and we will do our best to help get you back on the path to fitness.