Physiotherapy Tip of the Month – January
Now that Christmas has passed, New Year’s resolutions and promises to get fit will be in full swing. Here in the Physiotherapy Department in the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee, we are passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals and get a little more active. In this month’s Physio Tip, we share 10 simple suggestions on how to make your journey towards fitness more enjoyable and sustainable and how to avoid those dreaded injuries.
1. Easy does it! The first tip is to begin your exercise routine gradually and progress slowly as the weeks go on. An overly enthusiastic start is the downfall of many people as injury rates are highest in those returning to activity after a break. A rough rule of thumb for those starting to jog or run is to only increase your weekly mileage by 10% each week.
2. Get the basics right! Take the small few extra minutes to do a basic warm up for your exercise. It need not be fancy but you should prepare your body for the activity that you are about to undertake. This will improve performance and decrease risk of injury. For aerobic exercise, it is recommended to gradually increase intensity over 5 to 10 minutes until you achieve a heart rate of 40-60% of your maximum heart rate. For resistance or weight training, starting with loads of ~40% of your maximum load is a good way to prepare your body.
3. Enjoy the process! Start off by keeping it simple and doing an activity that you enjoy! Research has shown that enjoyment of an activity is the greatest predictor of adherence. The psychological and physical benefits of following a regular and enjoyable exercise routine outweigh those from the latest ‘fat-busting’ workout that you cannot wait to finish!
4. Make it social! Bring a friend or join a group. Why not share the journey?! Having company while you exercise, ranging from one loyal companion to taking part in a group class, is a strong predictor of sticking to your goals.
5. Set a new year schedule. Despite a reluctance to return to our daily routines after Christmas, it certainly increases our productivity! Plan at the start of each week when exactly you will fit in your workouts. This will ensure you are physically and mentally ready when the time comes and limits procrastination!
6. Set exercise goals. On a cold and dark night, you might need an extra push to get out for a walk or jog. Try to pick a personal goal or event and work towards that. Goals can be as simple as doing 5 sit ups to running a marathon. Just try and keep them realistic, measurable and within a time frame.
7. Variety is the spice of life and exercise should be fun. It is recommended that we all get a combination of aerobic, flexibility and resistance training in every week (ACSM, 2014). Mixing walking/cycling/swimming/gym work will all train different muscle groups and help injury prevention. Varying surface, terrain and footwear will stress your body differently. Variety will also improve enjoyment and sustainability.
8. R&R! The next tip is a little nicer to incorporate into your routine: and that is to remember to take rest days! It is through rest and recovery that our bodies adapt and absorb the benefits of our training days. It has also been shown that training every day increases risk of injury exponentially. In the long term, regular rest days will allow you to be far more consistent in your training by avoiding days missed through injury.
9. Sleep: Better sleeping patterns are associated with a decreased risk of injury. In fact, some studies have found that sleep quality is of the strongest predictor of injury. One such study showed that 65% of athletes that slept less than 8hours reported an injury over the course of a year compared to 31% of athletes who slept 8 hours per night.
10. Get some guidance! If you are looking for some guidance with your training, contact the Bon Secours Hospital Physiotherapy Team. All of our physiotherapists are Chartered and are CORU Registered. We are continually training and upskilling so we can provide expert care for Sports Injuries, Pain Management, Vestibular Rehabilitation, Bone Health & Osteoporosis, Hand Therapy and Orthopaedic Issues. Following an exercise programme can increase sustainability and help with injury prevention.
Here at the Bon Secours Physiotherapy Department, we are happy to help you with any exercise or injury related issues or questions.
We accept referrals from GPs, Consultants & self referrals.
For appointments or further information please call 066-7149864 or email email@example.com