If you are like a lot of Australians, your New Year’s resolution is to get fit. As the clock strikes midnight on December 31st we make plans to be happier and healthier in the New Year. As January starts, many enthusiasts start new exercise regimes to achieve their goal of getting fit and losing the weight gained over the festive season. But all these grand plans can get derailed easily if we don’t follow proper safety precautions leaving us injured and postponing any fitness benefits.
According to Sports Medicine Australia, each year 1 in 17 Australians are sidelined as a result of a sports injury, making injuries one of the major barriers to participation. But this need not be the case, as up to half of all sporting injuries are able to be prevented.
A lack of good preparation is one of the major causes of injuries which can restrict a person’s steady progress towards their fitness goal. This can in turn, deter people’s enthusiasm and motivation to get fit and healthy. But this risk can easily be reduced by undertaking some simple measures before, during and after physical activity.
Here are some great tips for achieving that New Year’s resolution while staying injury free
- Try not to do too much too soon. Start at a level and pace that you are comfortable with and gradually increase the workload over a series of sessions.
- Always warm up and cool down. Warming up prepares you both mentally and physically for performance and decreases your risk of being injured. To warm up, simply start your chosen activity at a slower pace. Also remember to cool down after activity sessions to help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
- Always drink plenty of water before, during and after activity. Drink at least 2 cups (500ml) an hour before exercise, 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise and enough to fully re-hydrate yourself after exercise.
- Good quality footwear is a must. A number of studies have found a relationship between the type of footwear worn and the incidence of lower limb injuries.
- Know what to do if an injury occurs, especially if you have suffered an injury in the last 12 months. Statistics have found that a previous injury increases the risk of further injury by 57%. If you sustain an injury use the RICER procedure – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral and get to your Physio or other health professional as soon as possible.
Remember if you are ever on doubt consult your SquareOne Physiotherapist or other health professional for their advice.