Returning to regular exercise can be daunting, particularly if you have been sedentary for a while. Whether it be returning to sport or just improving your health and fitness, here are some helpful tips to help you reach your goals without reaching for the pain killers.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race – Start with a shorter duration (particularly if you have been inactive for a while) and slowly build up as your fitness improves. Similarly, you may want to begin with low impact exercise such as swimming or walking, then increase the intensity by adding higher impact exercises like running and jumping.
Warm Up and Cool Down – An effective warm up is important to prepare your body for exercise by increasing blood flow to the muscles. Most warm ups consist of some sort of cardiovascular exercise (e.g. cycling, walking) and typically include movements that you plan you to do in your workout. After you finish exercising, you should complete a 5-10 minute cool down that includes gentle cardiovascular exercise and stretching.
Supportive Footwear – Ensure that when you are completing your workouts, you are wearing supportive and comfortable shoes. Generally, your chosen footwear should have good arch support and stability around the heel and back of the ankle.
Setting Realistic Goals – Setting realistic, specific goals is a great way to keep motivated. When setting goals, you want to make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (or SMART). You also want to break up your larger goal (e.g. lose 6kgs) into smaller more achievable goals (e.g. lose 0.5kg per week for 3 months).
It is common to feel some post exercise soreness for 2-3 days after a workout, however you shouldn’t feel pain whilst completing (or directly after completing) an exercise. If you are experiencing pain, or just need some advice on returning to exercise, book an appointment in with your physiotherapist.