At this time of year at our Hobsonville physio clinics, we’re used to treating people who have incurred injuries while trying to attain “beach bodies”. In their rush to shape up before summer, they dive into an exercise plan without a thought for their wellbeing. While shaping up for summer – and every season – is admirable, we believe there is a smarter way of doing it. To minimise the risk of injury, we recommend that you follow these tips.
- Ease Yourself Into Your Exercise Programme. A lot of our patients tell us that they started exercising with the same intensity they did when they last exercised on a regular basis. For many of them, that was decades ago! As we age, our body changes and isn’t capable of doing what it did back then. Patience is key. We suggest you do things gradually with a maximum 10% increase in time, speed or intensity each week.
- Invest In Decent Shoes. Foot, ankle, leg, hip and back injuries are common too, with the culprit being shoes that don’t fit properly. If running or walking is part of your “summer body” fitness programme, then investing in proper fitting shoes is absolutely essential. Don’t do it on the cheap. Buy the best you can afford.
- Don’t Forget To Stretch. Many people suffer injuries because they don’t stretch before and after they exercise. This is a classic case of letting their enthusiasm get the better of them. They lift weights, or run, or swim, in a desperate quest to get fit without paying enough attention to stretching, and all the benefits it provides.
- Use The Right Technique In The Gym. If you’re working out at the gym, follow the advice of your instructor when they point out the correct technique to use. In our experience, a common cause of injury is poor exercise technique where people ignore everything they’ve been told and do their own thing. That thing is often very wrong, and very painful.
The advice we’ve given you is basic. However, when you see the people at our physiotherapy clinics on the North Shore, it’s advice that is not heeded often enough. So take your time, invest in the right gear, don’t forget to stretch, and listen to the fitness professionals who are guiding you. And if you do feel any pain, don’t ignore it. Untreated injuries will only worsen and stop you from reaching your fitness goals on time. Finally, if you haven’t exercised in a while, it might be a good idea to get a check-up with your GP before you embark on any fitness programme.