Top tips for staying injury-free as you start to work towards your 2022 fitness goals.
With New Year’s resolutions fresh in your mind, people everywhere are hitting the gym and pounding the pavement, but the key to getting fit in the new year is staying injury-free.
Everyone needs a bit of motivation, and if that’s the start of the year for you get on board with the New Year, New Me concept popular on social media. But, you need to be mindful of overdoing things.
Injuries can arise as people who have made New Year resolutions to get fit start hitting the gym.
Subtle injuries can arise over a couple of weeks or a couple of months and rear their ugly head.
Late January, February and March, those early months of the year are when people start to roll in with niggles or worse from their new pursuits.
And while injuries mean we get to see a lot more of you, it’s not the kind of thing we like to see. We’d definitely rather people were preventing these sorts of injuries — instead of limping through the doors.
In order to steer clear of injuries as you work towards your fitness goals for 2022, here are tips to jot down in your fitness diary.
1.Check yourself before wrecking yourself
Check the level of intensity at which you can comfortably work out. Gradually build up to what you need to be doing, but it’s not the best place to start. Allow your body time to adapt to cope with the high-intensity activities people want to be doing to achieve their goals.
Don’t go from low intensity, pottering around the garden to high intensity, throwing a lot of weights around.
There’s a lot of popular activities that involve high-intensity training — things like F45, CrossFit and bootcamps — that are very attractive because they get good results very quickly, but they also have the highest risk of injury.
Just take your time, progress slowly, and listen to your body. Rest days are important.
2. Be aware of the impact
Almost every form of activity has an impact on your body, but some can be more damaging than others, particularly after periods of inactivity or if you’ve had a past injury.
Exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming or weights can be less intimidating to older joints instead of heading off for a 5km run every day.
Running won’t affect your joints but if you’ve already got some degenerative changes in your knee and hip joints, it may be not the best exercise for you.
Cycling is still certainly the new golf and is a good, low-impact form of exercise for those looking to achieve new fitness goals in the new year without loading up their joints.
3. Take it slowly
To avoid impact injuries, it is best to start slowly and work your way up to longer distances and more impactful activities if that’s still where you want to head.
Pick a low-impact option at first — swimming, biking, rowing, or other things like that — and then graduate with time.
Consult someone to help or use the general rule of increasing your exercise time or distance by 10% per week.
4. Do your research and know your body
If you have not exercised in some time, or have been doing low levels of exercise, be sure to pick the activity that best suits you.
5. High school fitness level doesn’t apply
And, in case you needed reminding, your champion running efforts in high school mean nothing if you have done little of it since.
If you haven’t run in six months or two years, don’t expect to be able to run 5 kilometres straight off. Your mind may be able to cope, but maybe not your body.
Best take an extra few weeks than end up having to stop due to injury.
The Couch to 5km Running Program is always a great place to start if running is the goal.
Our Physios regularly set return to running or exercise programs for our patients and would be happy to help you with yours. And if you’ve got a niggle, get it seen to before it gets worse. Addressing them early often prevents having to have time off later down the track.
Our goal is to keep you doing what you love and get you to achieve your goals as fast as you can. When you are happy, so are we!