The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the flowers are flowering – it must be time to start exercising again!
If you’ve been hibernating during the colder months, you’re probably thinking about dusting off your trainers and getting focused on your fitness in time for summer. But before you hit the hard and fast workouts with all you’ve got, take a moment to consider our top 4 tips for getting started.
#1 Ease into your training
Many of us are so eager to get back into training after a winter break that we risk overdoing it – and suffering as a result.
Starting slowly, and taking the time to build up your fitness and flexibility, will help you to avoid injury and any associated health problems that come from pushing yourself too fast too soon.
According to figures from Sports Medicine Australia (SMA), up to 50% of sports injuries are preventable. SMA also estimate that one in 17 Australians suffer a sporting injury each year, with rates among females lower than in males.
#2 Set realistic goals
Whether you’re exercising in preparation for a specific event, or you’re simply hoping to increase your fitness and lose weight, setting realistic training goals will help ensure you meet your targets without disappointment.
The Better Health Channel suggest making goals measurable (eg “I want to lose 5 kilos” instead of “I want to lose weight”) and ensuring goals are meaningful and important to you. “For example, if your partner wants you to lose weight, but you’re happy as you are, you may find it difficult to commit to your exercise routine in the long term,” they advise.
#3 Recognise symptoms of overuse
Overuse injuries, caused by repetitive trauma on the muscles and joints, can be prevented if you are familiar with the progression of injury. Overuse injuries can come from overdoing your exercise regime or exercising with incorrect or improper techniques which can strain your muscles.
Research has indicated that overuse injuries are pretty common. One study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine last year found that overuse problems constituted the majority of injury cases among triathletes and were far more common than acute injuries and illnesses.
Make sure you have a health professional have a look at any niggling overuse injuries, and save your body in the long run! To make an appointment for a sports & remedial massage, click here.
#4 Give your workout gear a Spring clean
If it’s been a while between workouts, you may need to revamp your exercise gear. When you’re buying new shoes, remember to take the time to go to the right store and be fitted properly.
Refreshing your exercise wardrobe may also help you to get into the exercising zone. Last year, researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois found that we think with our physical experiences, including the clothes that we wear, as well as with our brains. “Wearing a piece of clothing depends on both its symbolic meaning and the physical experience of wearing the clothes,” the study authors wrote. So donning workout gear may make you more likely to get into the exercising mindset – and potentially make your workout more effective, too.
It’s a good idea to chat with your health professional if you have any questions or concerns about starting up your exercise regime after a break. If you’d like to make an appointment to discuss your training and injury prevention, click here.