Over the Christmas and New Year’s period many of us have a tendency to over-indulge as it can be hard to resist the delectable roast meats or seafood and enjoying a drink or two with family and friends. The combination of consuming a little more and the lazy summer days by the pool can inevitably lead to a little more ‘Christmas pudding’.
When the holidays are over and the fireworks are done and dusted, most people will want to get back into the swing of exercise. Unfortunately, what we often see with this spike in physical activity, is a spike in soft tissue and overuse injuries as a result of individuals going too hard too fast.
Outlined below are a few tips for getting back in shape safely after the ‘silly season’.
- Make sure you take 5-10 minutes to warm-up and cool down properly. A short warm-up can be one way to reduce your chance of a muscle strain/tear.
- Start off slowly and gradually increase your activity level unless you have previously been exercising frequently and vigorously. Generally a 10% increase in activity per week is safe.
- Be aware that training too hard or too often causes overuse injuries like stress fractures, stiff or sore joints and muscles, and inflamed tendons and ligaments. Sports prompting repetitive wear and tear on certain parts of your body — such as swimming , jogging, tennis, can be detrimental if overdone. A variety of exercise types is ideal.
- Listen to your body. Hold off on exercise when you're sick or feeling very fatigued. Cut back if you cannot finish an exercise session, feel faint after exercise or fatigued during the day, or suffer persistent aches and pains in joints after exercising.
- If you have a break from exercise for a week or so, drop back to a lower level of exercise than your previous session. If you're doing strength training drop the weights back a little or do fewer reps or sets.
- Drinking plenty of water is essential during these hot summer days. This will ensure you maintain an adequate blood volume and in doing so place less undue stress on your cardiovascular system. If you're working out especially hard, choose drinks that replace fluids plus essential electrolytes.
- Choose clothes and shoes designed for your type of exercise. Be sure to replace your shoes every 6-12 months (depending on exercise volume) to prevent injuries related to unsupportive footwear such as plantar fasciitis.
- When strength training, good form is essential. Initially using no weight or light weights is great to reinforce proper movement patterns when learning the exercises. Never sacrifice good form by trying to quickly finish reps or sets, or struggling to lift heavier weights. If you are unsure on whether your form is ‘good’ or not, seek advice from a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.
- Exercising vigorously in hot, humid conditions can lead to hyperthermia (overheating) and dehydration. Slow your pace on those extremely hot days. Alternatively, try activities that can be performed indoors or even in water. Watch for signs of hyperthermia, such as headache, dizziness, nausea, faintness, cramps, or palpitations.
- Seek advice from an exercise professional such as a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist. Whether it be what to do, exercise form, an exercise program or a full body assessment.
A Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist can assist you in getting started in the safest way possible. Book in to see an exercise professional at Back in Motion Aspendale Gardens by calling 9580 1985 or online.