Claremont Physiotherapy Team's Top 10 Tips For Getting Fit
Our specialist Physiotherapists at Claremont Private Hospital have put together their New Year Fitness Top Tips for starting out on the road to fitness and how to make sure that you remain injury free and reach your goals.
1 - Most important of all is to choose something that you think you will enjoy. If you find you keep saying ‘I am going to join the gym again’, only to find in a few months you are no longer going, then the gym is probably not for you. Choose something you will enjoy - do you like to exercise alone or in groups, outdoors or indoors or do you prefer something with a competitive edge? Always ask for a free trial so you get a feel for your chosen exercise.
2 - What is your goal? Is it to get fit, lose weight or improve your overall wellbeing? By having a set goal, this will keep you motivated and focused on sticking to your plan.
3 - Pace your activity. Start by committing to once or twice a week. If you start out by trying to do something every day, you will soon burn out both physically and mentally.
4 - Give it time for your body to adjust. When starting out on a new form of exercise, you are likely to feel sore and stiff in the muscles and joints to begin with because they are unaccustomed to that activity. Start with short exercise times and relatively low intensity, building up gradually. To avoid injuries but still see progress, you should increase the activity by no more than 10% per week. This rule can be applied to time, distance, resistance and intensity.
5 - Be patient for results. It will probably take about 6 to 8 weeks for you to start looking and feeling fitter. Don't be disheartened if by the end of January you haven’t reached your goals – it does take time.
6 - Beware of the ‘Bootcamp’. These can be great fun and very motivating, but often lead to injury due to the sudden high demands placed on your body. If you fancy something like this, see if they do a ‘beginners’ group that is less intense or if not, try and build some baseline fitness yourself by walking, cycling or swimming first.
7 - Fuel up and eat well. People will often join efforts to get fit with the aim to eat healthier. Exercise requires carbohydrate for energy and you should aim to have eaten at least 1 hour before exercise, ideally 2. Try and include foods such as porridge, wholemeal bread or pasta as these will release energy slowly. Moderate exercise up to 1 hour in duration, should not require you to take on extra sugar energy sports drinks or gels.
8 - Get that niggling injury checked out. If you are already experiencing pain or discomfort in a joint, muscle or tendon, this is likely to be aggravated when starting a new exercise. We can assess and diagnose your problem and offer advice and treatment to get you on the road to recovery. We can also guide you as to the forms of exercise you may be best suited to and how to avoid future problems.
9 - Warming up. You should always warm up for 10 to 15 mins prior to exercise and this should include light aerobic movements and some dynamic stretching that mimics the movements of the activity you are about to perform. Static stretching has very little evidence to support its use for injury prevention prior to exercising.
10 - Cooling down. Spend at least 5 minutes after exercising doing some low intensity and low impact exercises such as walking, deep breathing and gentle stretching. The best time to stretch if you wish to reduce tightness and soreness is after exercise is when the muscles are still warm and flexible. Perform 1 stretch of each muscle you wish to target and hold this for 30 seconds.