As summer ends and it starts to get a bit cooler, it's a good time to start up your exercise routine again.
It's also the time when a lot of injuries occur - mainly because we just go for it after some time off. So here are some top tips to make sure that you're able to exercise well and to keep up your routine injury-free:
Whatever sport or exercise you're into you'll have some gear, whether it's a bike or just a pair of shoes - make sure they're in good nick.
Going to the max on "cold" muscles means that you're more likely to get a muscle strain, so make sure you warm up.
There's no need to tear the arse: 3-5 mins of warm up is enough. Start gently and get progressively more active.
For most sports the best warm up for your exercise is the sport itself:
If you've taken a good few weeks (or months. Or years) off exercise, don't just jump in at the level you were before. You've gotten older and less fit! Build up sensibly.
If you're in your 20's ignore this one: you're invulnerable.
Whether it's bicep curls, running gait, swimming stroke or riding position, form is everything.
If you concentrate on keeping good form & the right position then you'll be building the muscles correctly and using them as they're meant to be used. With rubbish form, you'll be recruiting other muscles to help out (muscles that weren't designed to do the job), and you'll be more prone to injury.
It's harder than you might think to keep form - slow the pace, drop the weight and concentrate on the position of your body. Only when you're sure that you're doing it as well as you can then up the ante.
This is probably the most important bit of advice. It's the thing that has the most impact on your ability to stay injury-free.
You don't need to stretch everthing: just stretch what you know will hurt the next day. There's loads of advice on stretching in this previous blog.
If you've got a niggle, stop.
If it hasn't gone away get help.
Niggles can quickly become problems if you keep exercising on them. One of my clients found this out to his cost recently: he's a boxer and after a session of thowing punches had a niggle in his elbow. Despite thinking, "that's not right," he boxed again a few days later. And a few days after that. Of course he made the injury worse, and had to take a couple of months off.
If you think it's a muscle problem, then a remedial sports massage therapist can help; if it's a joint issue then a physio will sort it; if it's in your spine then a good osteopath can help.
As ever, if you think I can help, give me a call.